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Be careful how you leave a foreclosed home

| Jan 8, 2020 | Bankruptcy |

Sometimes, filing for bankruptcy can help people keep their homes. However, perhaps you can’t or choose not to save your home from foreclosure. Maybe the foreclosure is a done deal when you begin looking seriously at bankruptcy and all that’s left to do is move out of it.

Be careful when leaving a foreclosed home. Don’t think you have nothing to lose, so you may as well take what you can get from it. If you strip the home of everything in it in an effort to walk away with things you can sell or reuse, you could pay a big price.

So, how do you know what you can take with you and what you need to leave? Basically, you can take personal property, but you need to leave anything that’s considered real estate — that means anything that’s affixed to the home or the land it’s on.

Personal property is anything you purchased or brought in to the home, including furniture. Be careful when taking down artwork, mounted mirrors or anything you brought in to the home and bolted to a wall, ceiling or floor, however. If you cause any significant damage to the home as you’re leaving it that requires the lender to do repairs it didn’t anticipate or to sell it for a much lower price, the lender could sue you.

Following are a few examples of things you cannot take out of your foreclosed home:

  • Major and/or built-in appliances
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Pipes and wiring
  • Air conditioning units/furnaces
  • Faucets, sinks, toilets and other plumbing fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Light fixtures
  • Outdoor built-in items like spas
  • Fencing
  • Landscaping

Your lender or one of their representatives may want to go through the home with you to determine what they expect you to leave in the home when you vacate. If you believe that they’re requiring you to leave things that you have the right to take with you, it may be wise to talk with an attorney.

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