What happened to the people who used to live here?

Real Estate Broker Owner with BROOKVIEW REALTY

Recently I was showing a foreclosed property and found the only thing left in the stripped property was this chalkboard mounted in the basement. The message "It was fun" struck a chord with me.

It was fun!How many times have you asked yourself, "I wonder where the past owner went". Wonder what happened to the people who used to call this house a home? Where are the children who used to swing on the swing set out back? Where did the children end up? Where are their friends and loved ones? Are they managing better now than when they lost the house to foreclosure? Where they "tricked" into a mortgage they didn't understand? Did the interest rate on their creative mortgage spike up? Did they simply over buy, or was it a job loss?

Why did the past owner steal the kitchen cabinets knobs? Where are the kitchen cabinets & countertops? Why where the only remaining items in the kitchen the built in dishwasher and stand alone range? Where are the interior door knobs? Why did they remove the light fixtures and toilets? Why was the electric panel cut out? Why did they leave the property in disarray? Did the basement always flood, or is this a new phenomenon?

Who was the painter who painted this interior so poorly? And what about the bright purple painted bedroom? Whose idea was that anyways? Was it little Ashley's? Where are the closet doors? What happened to the furnace? What happened to the hot water heater and copper pipes? What's that smell? Why did the family pet urinate on that wall plug?

According to our recent MLS statistics, nearly 50% of our sales last quarter were foreclosures. The foreclosure market has prompted me to ponder many new questions, most without an answer. Will we ever have an answer?

When will the market "Get back to normal"? What do you tell your buyer when asked? I have been selling real estate in southeast Michigan for nearly 18 years. Now more than ever I find myself asking these series of questions.

I have heard that all real estate is local. Is it just me, or is your real estate market the same?


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david elya

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Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers
Associate Broker Realtor Arizona Golf Communities
Long Realty West Valley Sun City Grand Surprise Arizona

I too have often wondered about the people, children and pets.  "It was fun" - a nice ending to a sad story.

I think that we may see some relief for a short period, until the 5 year ARMS become due, then it will possibly be even worse.

July 07, 2009 08:11 AM
Kris Wales
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center

I viewed one last week that made me want to cry.  Stepped outside onto the deck, saw the swingset and sandbox, and one lonely little Tonka dump truck.  I could almost hear the little ones playing..

July 07, 2009 08:28 AM
Konnie McCarthy
Associate Broker - VA & MD
Realty Direct, LLC/Realty Direct, Inc.

I know this may sound strange..but that is what I told my husband..when I am in a home that was foreclosed on...I can feel the presence of the previous owners..

July 07, 2009 08:54 AM
Renée Burrows
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate

Seriously it is sad and I do wish the walls could talk sometimes.  Like Konnie you can sometimes even feel negative energy or a "presence".  It's creepy!

July 07, 2009 11:30 AM
Karen Winters
Chicagoland Condos and Homes - Chicago, IL
North Clybourn Group

It's a strange feeling when I go to show, or have an inspection at a foreclosed home where a few toys and furniture pieces remain.  I can imagine the family leaving in a hurry and after they loaded up all they had room to carry, making the hard decision to leave a few things behind. 

I saw a case of vandalism where the previous owner sealed the bottom of the basement door and turned on the water in a slit level. The water had filled the basement almost to the ceiling and was coming up the stairs to the main level.  I was just about to head downstairs and caught myself on the railing before stepping into that water and possible electrocution.  The main level was a very attractive home, but when we went up to the bedroom level, the ceiling had caved in from all the moisture trapped in the home.

January 11, 2012 10:44 PM

David Elya

ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR - Broker
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Additional Information

Read the premiere Macomb County Michigan blog. David Elya is the full-time Broker Owner of BROOKVIEW REALTY in Rochester, Michigan. David is a licensed builder, specializing in single family, new construction, multi-family, condominium and vacant land in Oakland and Macomb County, Michigan.