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The ‘fruits of foreclosure’ may bring new offerings to EBay, Craigslist

KohoutcabinetsA woman in Ontario has been locked out of her historic home — which is being foreclosed upon — for selling historic items in the house on Craigslist. She says she added the items, like antique light fixtures, herself and therefore has a right to sell them before she loses the house. The city, which granted her a tax break to preserve the 1935 classic Mediterranean Revival, begged to differ, saying once you install a light fixture, it’s part of the house.

Read the whole story at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

This reminds me of a Pardon Our Dust feature I wrote a few years ago. The owners of an historic yet trashed house in Pasadena had found some absolutely gorgeous cabinets (pictured here) in the Recycler for only $1,800, which is outrageously cheap (and over which I was painfully jealous). The story was that the seller had yanked them out of a house that was going into foreclosure and stored them in his garage. I believe they originally cost $20,000.

So all this got me thinking . . . with the explosion in foreclosures these days, as a result of the problems with sub-prime mortgages, it’s possible more amazing home-improvement deals will show up on the Internet. I’m thinking of kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinets, counters, lighting, fancy moldings.

I’m not saying it’s right to strip a house before foreclosure. I’m just saying these things might end up for sale.

And it also got me thinking: Do you care about the circumstances under which used items came to be listed on Craigslist, EBay or the Recycler?

Does the story behind a deal matter to you?


4 Comments on The ‘fruits of foreclosure’ may bring new offerings to EBay, Craigslist

  1. As long a they are not stolen from someone else what would it matter? I think if you are the owner of the house and it hasnt been foreclosed onm yet, they are your cabinets.

  2. I agree with High Yields, and this is especially the case if you are the one who bought the fixtures in question.

  3. I think the issue is a little more subtle. At some point when getting a mortgage the house was assessed for value. The mortgage takes this assessed value into account. If you make improvements–without taking out another loan–you can take your stuff with you, provided you return the house to its original condition. So if you put in light fixtures, you can’t just pull them and leave the wires hanging, you have to replace them with something equal to what was there when the house was assessed.
    But say you refi’d the house to put in a new kitchen. The improved value of the house becomes part of the collateral. So you have to leave the new stuff in place.
    I’ve strolled through some houses under foreclosure. One really sad one was completely bare of furniture, and immaculate, except for one thing. Over the fireplace was a beautiful life sized wedding portrait–one of those oil paintings from a photo, but nicely done–with the husband’s face slashed out. Every house tells a story.

  4. INland Empire // January 14, 2008 at 11:03 am // Reply

    If you replace the items with something else, maybe. If you pillage, no.

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