Squatters - Moving In on Foreclosed Mansions

By
Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

MansionIn a sign of the times, the trend of high-end squatting seems to be the current rage. The housing bust has left thousands of mansions unattended and vacant and those who would be homeless are moving in. 

The most high profile squatters to date have been actor Randy Quaid (brother to Dennis Quaid) and his wife, Evi. The Quaids were recently arrested for living in a guest house, now foreclosed on that was once part of their property. Against their insistence that they really did belong there, they were taken away in handcuffs, booked and held until they were able to post a bail of $10,000. 

Quaid is best known for his roles in National Lampoon Vacation, Independence Day and Brokeback Mountain, and this recent arrest was not his first brush with the law. He and his wife were also arrested for defrauding an innkeeper after skipping out on a $10,000 hotel bill. 

The Quaids are certainly not alone in their quest for living quarters that do not really belong to them.  The practice seems to be spreading throughout various parts of the country and is probably occurring more than we know. 

An increasing number of mansions are in the possession of asset managers who have little time to be constantly checking on them. And, to make matters worse, many of these homes are isolated, walled in by trees and are otherwise difficult for any passersby to take note of. 

Homeless would-be millionaires are realizing that these huge dwellings can go for very long times in between showings since the pool of buyers for them is relatively small. It makes them an instant target for those seeking shelter from the cold world.

Before the downturn in housing, squatting was something that was mostly seen in lower end areas where people would just slip in knowing that the local police had their hands too full to check on every vacant building. 

Now, there are some great opportunities for those in distress to take up residence in some very fashionable digs. 

Really, if you are going to squat - you may as well do it in style.

 

Copyright 2010 "Squatters - Moving In on Foreclosed Mansions "

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Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230

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Ambassador
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Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

You last line summed it up perfectly: If you're going to squat, you might as well do it in style!"

Sep 24, 2010 12:57 PM #3
Rainmaker
874,282
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Claudette...This appears to be a "move - up" market for the otherwise homeless...from living under a highway overpass to moving up to Beverly Hills...I know how the Clampetts must have felt.

Sep 24, 2010 01:50 PM #4
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Craig:

Why not?  The rent will be same, right?

Steve:

We don't remember the Clampetts, do we? Ah yes, Ellie May and Jethro.

 

 

Sep 24, 2010 03:29 PM #5
Rainmaker
297,251
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Claudette, at least these people have good taste. I also read about the Quaids and was surprised to hear such high profile people getting involved in this. Apparently Randy's decision making does not match his acting skills, and I did think he was funny in the National Lampoon movies.

Sep 24, 2010 04:08 PM #6
Rainmaker
599,126
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

 ROTFL 

Sep 24, 2010 04:32 PM #7
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Dan & Amy:

Yes, tasteful squatters...

Randy Quaid has been in trouble a few times now. I can only imagine how embarrassed his brother must be. 

 

 

Sep 24, 2010 04:34 PM #8
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Hi, Donne:

I understand your comment, completely.

 

Sep 24, 2010 04:36 PM #9
Rainmaker
920,121
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

Funnily enough I met Randy Quaid.  He was extremely charming.  This is a shame.  But, yes, may as well squat in style.  I don't know the laws here, but in the U.K. used to be that if you left your house to go shopping and someone got in, they could squat there and there was nothing you could do about it, "squatters' rights". 

Sep 24, 2010 04:39 PM #10
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Jane:

It certainly is a shame. He was in some successful films. I hope he finds his way out of whatever troubles he has.

I don't really think those are close to our laws here. In this country I think you have to have ownership or a valid lease or you can be removed from the premises. 

 

Sep 24, 2010 04:49 PM #11
Rainmaker
230,929
Ken Barker RealtorĀ® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Claudette - I can't imagine walking in and finding squatters. Oh Wait, yes I can. I have walked in some incredibly weird situations and it can be scary. Squatters, Meth labs, pot farms. I have never shown a large mansion foreclosure but I bet there is a lot of things that go on.

Sep 24, 2010 11:18 PM #12
Rainmaker
858,981
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

We once had squatters on our land - and there didn't seem to be a thing we could do about it. The police were certainly no help.

These folks moved in with a travel trailer, and they stayed until someone mentioned what a shame it would be if all that dry grass caught fire.

Meanwhile, I can't imagine what an uncomfortable life it must be to be a squatter... knowing you could get caught and removed at any time (unless you lived here, of course!)

Sep 25, 2010 01:18 AM #13
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Ken:

You have walked into a meth lab? I would love to hear that story.

Marte:

Why weren't the police any help? Maybe we should review the laws. Jane's comment that in Enland if you go out shopping, someone can move in and have squatter's rights. I thought things were different here.

 

Sep 25, 2010 07:18 AM #14
Rainmaker
514,825
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Wow. Life imitates art ot maybe Randy has just been Type-Cast all these years. No matter, there are many people who will leap at the chance to exploit a situation when presented and this is just another opportunity for folks who just naturally do that sort of thing.

Sep 25, 2010 06:09 PM #15
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Russell:

I don't really know about Randy.  I have liked him in a number of films. I hope he comes out okay.  But, yes there are some people who will take advantage of the current situation with these vacant mansions. They have a better life - at least for a little while.

 

Sep 25, 2010 06:48 PM #16
Rainmaker
236,315
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial 928-201-4242 - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

HAHAHA! Yup, why not squat with the rich and famous . . . with the Quaids, sounds like a symbolic 'flippin' of  the bird' to their former noteholder.

Sep 25, 2010 07:39 PM #17
Rainmaker
230,929
Ken Barker RealtorĀ® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Claudette - Let me clear up the meth lab. I did not see the entire set-up. I saw what was left behind. Lots and lots of power strips and outlets and tin foil and beakers etc....Apparently someone held up in a vacant home, not a mansion mind you, and had their fun and left in a hurry.

I believe we got to the house before it should have been on the market. But when I feel there is any danger based on the first feel I get when opening the door, I tell my cleint "let me go in first and I will let you know".

Sep 26, 2010 07:54 PM #18
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Ken:

That was an interesting experience that you had.  I have never come upon even the remnants of a meth lab. Just another one to write into the books. 

 

Sep 26, 2010 08:01 PM #19
Rainmaker
619,632
Susan Haughton
Long & Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Your Client-centric Alexandria VA REALTOR

I always enjoyed Randy's characters, but it seems he is quite the character himself.  Got a good chuckle out of aquatting in style!

Sep 26, 2010 11:23 PM #20
Rainmaker
402,023
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Susan:

I think many of us have a difficult time understanding how someone who is so high profile and has obviously made a bit of money can find himself basically homeless. Maybe he will get another movie role and it will straighten out his finances. He may be getting some bad financial advice.

 

Sep 27, 2010 08:12 AM #21
Rainer
333,262
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

yes they look so nice but Foreclosures are such tough on to stomach.

Jan 16, 2012 11:29 PM #22
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