Zombie Foreclosures are Everywhere!

Close your windows!  Lock your doors!  Turn out the lights and hide!  The zombies are coming!

No, seriously, they are, but these zombies are not a threat to your life.  These are zombie foreclosures, and they seem to be increasing nationwide.  What are zombie foreclosures?  Well, let’s say a homeowner who is not making mortgage payments gets a foreclosure notice.  Instead of trying to fight it, the homeowner decides it’s not worth it and moves out.  Subsequently the bank does not complete the foreclosure process. 

Wait a minute, why didn’t the bank foreclose?  You may have noticed that 1) the real estate market crashed a few years back; 2) many homeowners are facing or fighting foreclosure; 3) the economy’s been troubled.  As a result, there is quite a backlog of foreclosures.  Moreover, some banks don’t even want to foreclose because they don’t want to be stuck with the burden of maintaining homes, especially as more and more municipalities impose fines for allowing homes to become fall apart.

In a zombie foreclosure, at the end of the day, the homeowner has moved out, but the bank didn’t foreclose.  Now the home is vacant, and no one is taking care of it.  It could be flooded, damaged or used by thugs as a meth lab.  No one is paying the insurance or real estate taxes or maintaining the house.

This is a high risk situation.  The home could attract criminals or just simply fall apart.  Either way, this hurts the community.  Moreover, the unsuspecting homeowner who moves out still owns the house!  He could be stuck with real estate tax bills and other expenses related to the house, and they may come as a complete surprise.

According to RealtyTrac, there are approximately 302,000 such zombie foreclosures nationwide.  That’s about 35% of homes facing foreclosure overall.  Illinois is ranked second in the number of zombie foreclosures.  Only Florida has more zombie foreclosures than Illinois does. 

So as the weather improves and you are out and about your neighborhood this spring, be careful where you go. . .A zombie may be lurking around the corner!