The Foreclosure 009 

When Does Selling Personal Property Become Theft?

If you’ve recently been shopping or working in the local, fun filled real estate market witnessed what’s going on out there with the bank involved properties. It’s hardly a secret that some home owners take their emotions out on the house as a parting gift to their lender. The mentality is, if the bank’s going to get it back, then they’re going to get it back stripped out.

It’s become so common with bank owned properties that it’s no longer a surprise to have a home need a great deal of work done to make it habitable. Black, funky pools are normal, no major appliances are expected and filth, ranging from mildly gross to a biological hazard is main stream.

Foreclosures and bank owned homes aside, there are now homes marketed as short sales that have both minor and major items disappear. Most commonly the refrigerator, the light fixtures and fans are absent. As a consumer maybe you can imagine leaving a home and taking a light fixture either because of the cost or because it has sentimental value. That’s not the issue; the issue at hand is selling off major items that for that customarily transfer with the sale of a home.

The reality of the situation is that many of these homes with vanishing items aren’t exactly paid for. Due to the market downturn, the homes are now mortgaged for more than they’re worth. The home owner will be asking the lender to forgive part of their debt to be able to sell. Before the bank is asked to forgive a portion of the debt some sellers hold a liquidation sale.

It begs the question: Where does line get drawn between removal of elective items and the theft of compulsory components that belong with the home? We all acknowledge that, technically, until the owner sells the home it’s his to use, abuse or enjoy. If a home owner prefers to not have ceiling fans that would be their choice. If a home owner decides to sell their fans on Craigslist that’s their business.

What about selling off major appliances? Hit up SW Florida area Craigslist and peruse the vast array of nearly new or gently used appliances available on the resale market. Are they fair game because they’re appliances and they weren’t glued down like the floor tile?

When you’re talking about a production build by a publicly traded developer more often than not you can assume those GE stainless steel appliances were part of the purchase and rolled into the mortgage. They’ve technically not been paid for by the home owner so is it fair that they’re sold off?

Is it fair or right that an indebted home owner sells their garage door opener, pool equipment, hot water tank or air conditioner? It’s happening in a neighborhood near you.

Right, wrong or indifferent, shortly after these items are sold off the homeowner asks the bank for debt forgiveness. The homes are sold, bargain basement, because they require thousands of dollars just to standardize them. That mortgage short fall is further exacerbated and becomes someone else’s problem, everyone else’s problem.

Now, is that simple liquidation of private property or larceny?


Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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