Abandoned, Foreclosed 'Zombie' Homes Surpass 300,000, Report Finds

Abandoned, Foreclosed 'Zombie' Homes Surpass 300,000, Report FindsThere are not hard to miss, especially if you live in the hard hit neighborhoods of Florida, Illinois and California, the three states with the most “zombie” homes – those abandoned and neglected by residents after getting foreclosure notices.
A report by RealtyTrac puts Florida firmly in the top spot with 90,556 vacant homes in foreclosure out of a national total of 301,874.
Illinois and California follow with 31,668 and 28,821 zombie properties, respectively, according to Reuters, which published the first report on such homes in January.
The initial study found that zombie homes were blighting many neighborhoods, where vacated properties have become havens for criminal activity in the worst cases.
“I think the empty foreclosures is less of a long-term threat but it certainly is affecting individual communities and neighborhoods,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist told Reuters.
The problem goes beyond the impact of neglected properties. Homeowners who walked away from many of these homes do not realize that their names remained on the deed. They also don’t realize that they are financially liable for taxes and other bills tied to the abandoned property.
In some cases, homeowners left after getting a notice from the bank of a planned foreclosure sale, but find out later that the bank never followed through.
Municipalities are left to deal with the zombie properties. Some spend public funds on securing and cleaning the homes. Others let the homes rot and become eyesores.
In the end, many homeowners who left these properties have had their wages garnished, their credit destroyed and their tax refunds seized, Reuters said.

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