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Abandoned homes don't help anyone.

Abandoned BootAbandoned homes don't help anyone. After a time they can't be recycled, they can't be lived in, the only option is to tear it down and start again.

I was out today at a friends place in New Milford, CT, there is a vacant home across the street. It is not a foreclosure situation, the owner died 10 years ago. The family lives out of state and has not been back in years.

It is small, only 2 rooms with a garage. It was never fancy, but it was home to a man who we have been told kept the place sparkling when he was alive. I remember driving by years ago, the property always looked wonderful. Built in 1950, it does predate any zoning and you can certainly tell this! As you can see, we couldn't go in the house as the floors have collapsed. The chimney fell off the house, some of the windows are broken, and the contents were left in tact after he left. I am surprised so much is still inside, I can see china, silverware still in the kitchen. Even the garage has some items that I would have thought someone would have taken. It does look like someone started to pack things in the garage then abandoned the project.

I couldn't help but think how many of the foreclosures and short sales are heading to this end. Lenders would do well to work harder for solutions before their inventory ends up like this. Mold takes over, the elements creep in, animals take up residence and the neighborhoods take a beating as the homes collapse into themselves. It boggles my mind.

I was extremely grateful for one thing, I wasn't listing this place!

And by the way, the town tax records say this home is in "fair condition". I wonder what the new reval will have to say about it!

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


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Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 22 commentsAndrea Swiedler • August 29 2010 09:54PM


Andrea, Isn't that sad!  When a home is just left to deteriorate that is exactly what it does! The old farmhouse at my husbands grandparents did just that and now what was the newer farmhouse has done the same.  Now mind you it is in the middle of nowhere Kansas.  It is amazing that this happens in areas that are not so rural.

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 8 years ago


Very important and insightful post. Lenders are extremely reluctant to approve short sales of low priced and vacant houses. Then they are reluctant to foreclose. The houses sit vacant and contribute to neighborhood blight.

I have listed low end short sales and have gotten so much lender resistance that it hardly feasible to even try anymore. Sadly, the houses eventually go to foreclosure and often sell for less than the short sale offer. That is compounded by all the legal costs and holding costs that we could have saved the lender if they would have approved the short sale.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 8 years ago

Andrea: It's always a curious situation when an asset like a home ends up abnadoned. I would never abandon any property that I could sell or donate.

Posted by Matt Grohe, Serving the metro since 2003 (RE/MAX Concepts) over 8 years ago

Abandonment is a funny process. So people just don't see the world the way we do, working with homes every day. There must be some land value.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 8 years ago

Hello Andrea-A darn shame that this happens. It happens more often than anybody knows I am sure. Hope you are doing well. Have a great week.

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 8 years ago

Houses cannot be donated if there is more owed on the house than the house is worth. The loan would have to undergo a short sale first, which would require a buyer who will pay the lender. By definition, a recipient of the donation would probably not want to pay to receive a donated house.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 8 years ago

Andrea, if walls could talk.  That's what I think to myself whenever I see an abandoned property went down like this one.  What if.........questions just come to my mind.  It is like seeing a child gets abandoned, it hurts.

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) over 8 years ago


It doesn't take long for nature to take back the land, and soon the house is just a memory. I agree that this scenario will be replayed many. many more times across the land.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Marchel, it is sad, I hate to see homes that are abandoned! It will be happening more and more, and it is a terrible thing.

Dave, why thank you. I just lost a short sale, the listing expired, the law day for the foreclosure is nipping at our heels, and there was no moving the lender. They didn't let me list it at a reasonable price until the very end. Now they will have a total disaster on their hands, a tear down. They listened, but it was far too late.

Matt, I don't know the story behind this, the family lives on the other side of the country. It was a great photo up, and it gave me a reason to put to words what has been on my mind of late!

Glenn, I don't think this family wants to sell. It was just there, in front of me, when I had my camera. But others, there is value in land, but not in the homes that are falling down in on themselves. Lenders need to get with the program on short sales.

Hi Sharon! Oh, it is so good to see your smiling face here on my post, thanks! I hope you are doing well too. And yes, it is a darn shame. (I am doing well, LOL)

Dave, thanks for the info!

Rita, I too think exactly the same thing. I was looking inside thinking that as I peered into the kitchen. All the plates are still there, I could see silverware, the chair looks like someone just got up and walked away. And yes, it hurts.

Richard, it is as if the land is going to heal what has happened. It is so sad, so unnecessary. Get people back into the homes before Mother Nature has her way.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

That was sad...viewing the pictures.  The shoe seemed profound for one who must have worked hard to maintain their home...only to have it in disarray after death. I think I would have left it to charity if my family weren't going to do something with it.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 8 years ago

Andrea - There are certainly a number of abandoned properties that really aren't salvageable.  If there is no historical/hysterical value, they likely should come down, so eventually something new can come into existence.  There can be hard choices needing to be made for the good of the community.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Sally, I thought the shoe was pretty profound myself. Very sad indeed.

Myrl, some should be torn down, for sure. Then there are those where the property just sat vacant too long. Then they must be torn down. It is a shame.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

There is nothing worse for a neighborhood's value than a vacant unkept home. It's a shame that the banks can't / won't work much quicker with the troubled owners to avoid such disasters.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 8 years ago

Andrera, it's sad to see a home left like that. Sad that the family would have just let it go, even the land was worth something.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 8 years ago

Andrea, looks like a great house for a 203K loan ....... LOL

Vacant properties are not good for anyone, and they can really bring down property values in a neighborhood.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 8 years ago

Hey Andrea, they diffidently do not help, they become an eye sore and bad place for the imagination.  I know it can lower the property value even if the person next store keeps their home as beautiful as they can.  Thanks for sharing :)

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 8 years ago

Hi Andrea ~ Well that's a "Must see inside!" kinda house. Yikes! You can see on the outside how it was cute at one time.  Hard to think with just two rooms that it would have been anything but a teardown.


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) over 8 years ago

Hi Andrea, That house across the street sounds a bit of a shame. And to think the family still has to pay taxes. Perhaps  soon the town will step in and determine it's fate. Sad why these things happen this way. But for sure , it is no longer safe or healthy they way it is. 

Posted by William Johnson, San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE (RE/MAX Associates) over 8 years ago

I saw one recently where a racoon decided to move in.  The fleas were so bad in the place I understand you couldn't walk inside without being "attacked" by those little buggers.

Posted by Dan Quinn, Dan Quinn (The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate) over 8 years ago

It's sad to see a home reduced to this condition. Banks have a different agenda which is good for them, but not necessarily good for the community.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

Craig, it is a shame, and that is what this post was trying to say. I know it doesn't make a difference, but I had to say it!

Ed, I am surprised they never tried to sell. And boy have they missed the market. Worth far less now.

George, LOL, I did think that. For half a nano second. Whatever that is. Vacant homes are such a blight.

Hi Laura, they are an eye sore, and don't do the area one bit of good.

Liz, LOL, this is truly a must see inside, seeing is believing after all. Yikes! :D

William, I doubt the town will do anything, taxes are paid in full!

Dan, I just had that happen to me (fleas), wrote a post about it. I bet there is more than a raccoon in there.

Jim, I agree, its not good for the community.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Wow "Fair Condition" huh ! ... Yikes !!!!

Such a shame that more and more homes like this are popping up.

Let's hope the tide turns soon - even if it's baby steps !


Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 8 years ago