Real Estate Investing Basics

Foreclosure Finds: Top 10 Scores I’ve Found in Houses

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management
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Foreclosure Finds

Every time I unlock a door to a vacant foreclosure, I feel like I am on some sort of intriguing game show… "Junk, treasure, or clean?" (insert cheering crowd and catchy jingle). My heart palpates a little in anticipation, first and foremost hoping no vagrants or hazardous materials are inside, but also in wonderment if there will be any good finds!

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The outside of the home may or may not give any sort of indication of the condition of the interior, and I have yet to be surprised by the clutter or collectibles left behind. What I’m really concerned about is the condition of the home itself, so removing all the belongings of the former occupants is important.

Before we do a trash out though, why not seek out any treasures that may have been left behind? After all, dealing with foreclosures isn’t always a grimy business!

In honor of the BiggerPockets Blog 8th Birthday, I’d like to share some of the best “gifts” I’ve gotten out of my foreclosures!

(As a disclaimer, the owners always confirmed that anything left behind would not be recovered. If you are unsure, remember that personal property does not typically convey with a home and you should always outline it in your contract. If in doubt, offer a Bill of Sale for personal property and bullet point the items for some nominal fee.)

Top Foreclosure Finds:

  • Brand new designer shoes (that happened to be my size, score!!)
  • Mountain bikes
  • Brand new drum set
  • Brand new contempo dark wood Armoir
  • Large floor mirror with real wood frame
  • Tools
  • Electronics
  • Brand new (nice smelling) perfumes/cologne
  • Patio, dining, and living room furniture
  • Plenty of decor, used later for staging items.

This also doesn’t include countless household items, either gently used or brand new.

This definitely beats the cat urine smelling, trash filled dilapidated homes we have to work with from time to time.

These items are great to use as staging materials, donate to local shelters, or sell if it’s a big ticket item (or give to someone that needs it). And hey, if every once in awhile there’s something in there you can keep as a gift to yourself, so be it. But otherwise, these are great “gifts” to give back to others!

What are some of the best “gifts” you’ve ever gotten out of a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure? What did you do with them?

Photo: joiseyshowaa

    Ned Carey
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I found a Schwinn Sting Ray Bicycle that I will sell on eBay or Craig’s list. I found a cool old sewing machine on a table, where the sewing machine flips out of sight into the table. I don’t know if it has any value but it is cool. I am still looking for the chest full of pirates booty of gold coins.
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Hi Ned the Schwinn is definitely a good find! Yes I’m waiting for the pot of gold too, but that usually comes after the sale 🙂
    Mark Ferguson
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Always check your state laws when you end up buying a home at the foreclosure sale. Most states make you do a personal property eviction or store items if the value of the belongings is over a certain amount.
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Great advice Mark. Most of what I purchase is pre-foreclosure, so thanks for the reminder to those that are actively buying foreclosures.
    Replied over 7 years ago
    My favorite; bought a flip house for $2000 found $943 in cash, an antique French 8mm Calvary pistol and 3 boxes of ammo all from WW1. The house was also full of antiques, most were nasty dirty from squatters so I sold the contents for $1000 with the stipulation that everything had to be gone. Later finding the side brick wall needing to be star bolted, and my wife having more sense about what this wreak was going to cost to rehab and the iffy area. We sold the place for $15k two months later. Looking back I am glad my wife won that battle.
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Sounds like you both squeezed some money out of that heap! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
    Cristina Mazuera
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I have been buying foreclosures in the Miami Area for 5 years and have some interesting stories too. I have found refrigerators full of food with no power that smelled so bad I had to your run!, on the other hand have opened doors where the house was impeccable, clickers for the garage in the kitchen 🙂 It is a big gamble and you should have an exit strategy to every purchase. At the end of the day I love what I do 🙂
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I agree and luckily I am able to see the interior nearly 100% of the time, since I deal mostly in pre-foreclosures. But even then, you can’t see everything until you “dig in.” Thanks for sharing!
    Tracy Royce
    Replied over 7 years ago
    I agree and luckily I am able to see the interior nearly 100% of the time, since I deal mostly in pre-foreclosures. But even then, you can’t see everything until you “dig in.” Thanks for sharing! Reply Report comment
    GARY RANEY Contractor from Ada, Ok
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I found some old elvis stuff!