Just finished reading quite an interesting realestate article (plus some links) on "Zombie Houses".
First, according to the article, Indiana ranks right up there in the top ten states for percent of "Zombie" houses. Starting things off, I hope we have some good realestate types here that can add of substract to what I have read.
After the "inspection" by John Rountree and other PRA members, the condition of the house along with the times it has been listed and then de-listed would sure make it a prime description of a Zombie house since the owners have been gone so long and no maintainance seems to have been done.
As I understand it a Zombie house is one that the mortage holder started forclosure on, then the owner just up and "walked" intending to leave the title and responsibility with the bank and then the bank or the mortage holder stopped the forclosure leaving the property owner still holding title and responsibility for taxes and maintainance, but not knowing it, sometimes for years !!!!!! This starting a SUPER CAN OF WORMS for the owner. So the first thing to know is WHO really owns title to the house. It would appear the bank is spending no money on it nor is anyone else
We have seen that up here ... especially with old gas station property .... if there have ever been fuel spills the current owner is responsible .... and it sometimes involves removing dirt for a whole city block.
And it doesn't matter if the spill or leaking underground tank happened in 1950 ... the guy who owns it today is responsible.
Because of that , those properties are impossible to sell , the banks refuse to foreclose , and by rights the city should claim it for tax sale .... but everybody keeps hands off.
My bodyshop had been a gas station years ago , the underground tanks had been paved over years ago , and sure enough the environment dept came along and made us dig them out ($4k) ... fortunately the tanks had not rusted or leaked so we got off lucky and received a "clean environment certificate"
Our province only has 1 million population .... but when the govt agent showed me his "historical gas station locations" there were so many dots on the map it looked like chicken pox on a herd of elephants
Know exactly what you are talking about, same laws exist here. As far as the house goes, I have seen some deals like this resolved rather simply. The party holding titles and maintainance resposibility agrees to give title to prospective buyer if buyer will pay back taxes (not a sherriffs sale) and dispose of maintainance problems (he just wants out.) County often gives prospective buyer big cut in back taxes to clean up the books and get the property current on taxes. The mortage holder will usually cut a "good deal" to get rid of the "big stink" as well. The prospective buyer can then repair or demolish the property.