In the space of 90 minutes this morning, I have received a call and e-mail from real estate brokers about vacant houses being stripped by thieves.
From Ed Favinger, broker with Realty World, Franklin Real Estate Group and Haven Properties Management in Citrus Heights:
- I have now been involved in two transactions where a house is vacant and thieves have come in and stolen all the copper water lines from the house.
In one case it cost my sellers over $5,000 to fix it. Rapid Rooter plumbing also informed my seller that when they came to his house to give him a bid, they had just finished a job across town with the same problem.
I am now in escrow on a home and the listing agent just informed me of the same thing is happening here. I am representing the buyer in this transaction.
I wonder how many other homes in this area are affected and where in the hell do these thieves sell this stuff?
And this from commercial real estate broker Mary Collins in Rio Linda (calling by cell phone from Interstate 80): A week ago a real estate agent posted a bank-owned sign in front of the house next door to me. Last night thieves came in and stripped it.
That house lost 50 percent of its equity overnight because of that sign. They take the lighting, the copper and the air conditioning.
I asked both how owners can protect themselves:
Don't put bank-owned out front, said Collins.
I would put a really heavy duty lock on the crawl space.
I would let the neighbors know on each side of the house and across the street when they might expect to see a trade person there.
I might even put some kind of loud alarm system on the crawl space entry.
Make sure your home owner insurance is up to date and covers this kind of thing.