The house strippers. Real estate’s latest nightmare.

No, not those kinds of strippers.

There are people in our area who are taking a bad housing situation and making it worse.  I call them the house strippers.

These guys and gals target homeowners who are losing their homes through the foreclosure process.  They approach the defaulting homeowners and make an offer:

“Before you get evicted, give us a call and we’ll get your keys from you.  We’ll pay you $1000 (sometimes much more…depends on the house) for the keys and you walk away.”

Once the homeowners leave the house, the strippers take everything of value out of the house.  I mean everything. Appliances, copper piping, light bulbs, doors, you name it.  Everything goes.

For whatever reason, the homeowners are often angry with the lender for evicting them when they stop making their mortgage payments.

This is especially nasty because it makes it harder for the lenders and their investors to recoup their money when they reclaim a house.  Many of these houses are going to have to be torn down.  Does it make financial sense to invest $150,000 bringing a house back to marketable condition, when the after-repair market value is $205,000?

For information on the other scams that are making the housing headaches worse, check out Jon Sterling‘s new book Mangled Mortgage.