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Zombie properties are homes that have been visibly abandoned but actual ownership has not. The term became popular in the housing industry during the 2007-08 housing crisis when people being unable to make their mortgage payments reached a catastrophic point.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions, a firm that tracks different types of real estate data, zombie properties made up about 3% of all foreclosures in the U.S. in October 2019. These homes can be a good buy, but there are some challenges you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
How Does a Property Become Classified as a Zombie Property?
A zombie property occurs when a homeowner is told they are being foreclosed upon, and they leave their home believing they must immediately vacate. The zombie scenario arises when a bank either abandons or inadvertently never completes the foreclosure process, and the house is left in limbo with no one caring for the property.
Zombie properties can be very lucrative investments because they are often able to be purchased at rock-bottom rates. The problem is there are some risks involved with buying this type of property because they’ve essentially been abandoned for often long periods of time which sets the condition for many unfortunate events to occur.
Homes Have Been Trashed
In many foreclosure situations, a home is already left in poor condition. In many cases, the homeowner couldn’t financially keep up with upkeep, or they’ve purposely destroyed the home before they left. Any of these problems or others are further exasperated in zombie situations because there is a high probability more destruction has been heaped up upon the original neglect or damage.
Squatters May Have Created Uninhabitable Conditions
Once a house is recognized as a zombie property, squatters or vandals often decide the property is fair game. They might simply come inside to be destructive, or they may use it for their own purposes.
Additionally, if vandals or squatters leave doors or windows open, animals, including feral cats might have taken up residence.
Locating The Title Holder
Once a homeowner has abandoned a property, they can be difficult to locate. Some may have gone off the grid or others have no clue they are still listed on the property deed. The name of the previous occupant who owned the home will need to be removed from the title so this will be a legal detail to address before a purchase can move forward.
Purchasing a zombie property can be a very lucrative investment, but it’s essential to carefully evaluate the condition of the property before deciding to buy it. You might find the effort and expense involved in bringing it up to be habitable might be more than it’s worth.
Let's face it – the mere thought of informing family members about your decision to pursue a new home may cause your blood pressure to rise. However, there are many reasons why it often is beneficial to notify family members about your decision to kick off a search for a new residence. These reasons include:
1. You can identify and address potential homebuying hurdles.
Your family typically has your best interests in mind. As such, family members can help you plan ahead for the homebuying journey and resolve any potential conflicts.
For example, family members can help you analyze prospective home financing options. They may even be able to put you in touch with local banks and credit unions that can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have home financing in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.
2. You can gain homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
Family members who previously bought homes may be able to provide you with property buying insights that you probably won't receive elsewhere. With these insights, you'll be better equipped than ever before to understand the housing market and make the best-possible homebuying decision based on your individual needs.
Of course, family members may be able to keep you informed about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns too. Because if family members know where you want to find a home, they can help you accelerate your property search.
3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.
Your family is there for you during good times and bad. If you inform family members about your decision to pursue a new home, they can provide you with comprehensive support throughout the property buying journey. As a result, family members can work with you to help you achieve your desired homebuying results in no time at all.
When it comes to getting help in your quest to discover your dream house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance as you proceed along the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is committed to helping you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. A real estate agent next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy and notify you about new homes that become available that match your property buying criteria. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. Lastly, if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase so you close on this residence and move into your new house.
Take the guesswork out of buying a house – hire a real estate agent today, and you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
Generally, the length of the homebuying journey depends on the individual. In some instances, a buyer will purchase the first house that he or she views in-person. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer several weeks or months to find a house that matches his or her expectations.
There is no need to rush the homebuying journey. But if you know what to expect when you pursue your dream house, you may be able to seamlessly navigate the property buying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly. And as a result, you may be better equipped than other property buyers to discover a great house at an affordable price.
As you put together homebuying criteria, it is important to consider your long-term plans as well. For instance, if you enjoy city life and want to spend as much time as possible in the city, a house in the city may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to raise your family in a small town, you may want to hone your search to houses in small towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A home purchase likely will require you to obtain a mortgage. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Meet with several banks and credit unions so you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you're on the lookout for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns – and much more.
Typically, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you find and buy your dream home. He or she initially will learn about your homebuying goals and develop a custom homebuying strategy for you. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you craft an aggressive offer to purchase this house.
Let's not forget about a real estate agent's homebuying expertise, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed home purchase.
Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble finding and acquiring your dream house.
The millionaire lifestyle conjures up visions of luxurious Country French-style mansions nestled in verdant estates at the end of a mile-long tree-lined drive, their arching bows of blossoms dipping overhead as you pass through in your top-down convertible. And that lifestyle is a perfectly pleasant way to live. But is it your way to live?
Luxury comes in small packages too
You have finally made it all the way to the top in your industry, received that windfall, won the lottery, sold your IPO … now you are ready to live the good life, but the idea of whiling away your time idly by the duck pond on the back side of your newly purchased acreage gives you pause. You've been striving toward a goal for a long time, and now that you've reached it, you're not sure it's exactly what you want, but sitting around at home most likely isn't it.
Do not force yourself into believing that the only way to live rich is in a large estate. If you love an active urban life now, you'll love it even more when you can fully enjoy it. Instead of moving out to the country, consider opting for a luxury condominium or townhome instead.
Sure, you’re giving up the rolling hills, bowing trees and the like, but you’re gaining access to all the things you want: gourmet food, good friends, great entertainment, grand shopping all at your doorstep in a high-rise condo, boutique flat or an imposing townhouse near to all the things you've grown to love.
Modern luxury condominiums offer premium options such as security, concierge service, valet parking, security, housekeeping, and staff to handle your dry-cleaning and package delivery. Some luxury buildings go so far as to offer membership in jet clubs—use of private jets, sort of like upscale limo service for longer trips. And many luxury associations offer limo and private driver service as well.
Building amenities may include indoor, outdoor, and rooftop pools, steam rooms and saunas, fully-staffed spas, on-premises sommeliers and private wine-cellars. Some locations offer larger private dining rooms—chef included—for entertaining large groups while others provide children's play areas and teen game rooms.
When you want to have overnight guests, some buildings provided guest apartments for short-term rental. Your guest has all the privacy of a hotel, but proximity to your residence and its amenities.
To find an agent specializing in luxury condominiums, check with your local real estate broker.