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Is There A "Zombie House" In Newark Near You?

There are hundreds of these abandoned, foreclosed home across the East Bay, causing problems for neighbors and real estate agents.

It's not exactly "Night of the Living Dead," but there are apparently nearly 2,000 so-called "zombie houses" in the East Bay right now.

The real estate website Realty Trac recently came out with a study of zombie houses across the country.

These are homes that are in foreclosure where the occupants have either disappeared or have moved, leaving the homes vacant before they have been sold.

Is there a zombie home near you in Newark? Let us know in the comments section.

Realty Trac estimates there are 748 zombie homes in Alameda County. The total ranks as 11th among California's 58 counties. Alameda County has the 7th largest total population.

The website says Contra Costa County has 1,178 zombie houses. That total ranks as 7th highest. Contra Costa is the 9th largest in total population.


County Total Foreclosures Total Zombies Zombie Percentage Alameda County 3,490 748 21 percent Contra Costa County 3,812 1,178 31 percent California 106,135 28,821 27 percent

The problem zombie homes sometimes present is they become run-down or even vandalized, becoming eyesores in their neighborhood.

Adam Moe, a Newark-based Realtor for 35 years, said zombie houses are not a big problem anymore in the Tri-City area. He said rising home prices are causing houses to be sold more quickly, reducing the chances they'll be left vacant.

Jay Gallagher, the broker/owner of HomesMax HomeSellers, said zombie homes are bigger problems in urban areas such as Richmond and Oakland, where the sheer numbers and a lack of resources make code enforcement difficult.

In suburban areas, zombie homes can hurt property values and make it difficult for agents to sell nearby houses.

Gallagher said neighbors and even real estate agents have been known to mow the lawn of a zombie home to keep up the neighborhood's appearance.

Gallagher added new accounting rules sometimes discourage banks from foreclosing on a home. They don't need to list these homes as liabilities or losses until they foreclose, so sometimes they let these houses sit there.

"Many homeowners have left their homes expecting the bank to take possession," said Gallagher. "Years can pass before the homeowner realizes that the property is still in their name and they are still legally responsible for the property."

Mike Michelson April 08, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I think these homes should be given to people who have fallen on hard times, rehabbed, to qualify they must be working and in five years the homes are sold and the money split 60/40 . no taxes paid in those five years!
Tim April 08, 2013 at 08:28 PM
This photo is NOT a zombie house in Pleasant Hill. It is an owner absent home that is neglected by the current owner. I have spoken to real estate professionals about it and they tell me the owner will not sell. It is sad and it is a blight.
Alicia Rodriguez April 08, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Mike, I see some really dumb comments here on Patch, but yours is today's winner! You want to give the houses to people who have fallen on hard times? Like the people who fell on hard times and had to leave them in the first place?! And require that they be working?? When not working is probably what lead them to fall on hard times in the first place?! And no taxes? Just like in the mortgage meltdown, people who follow the rules are not afforded these same perks!? You should probably think it through a little more before you post next time. :)
Nadja Adolf April 08, 2013 at 09:33 PM
A little research by the author would be useful. Zombie foreclosures happen when owners are given notice that they are being foreclosed and are asked to leave - and the bank doesn't follow through. The bank has cleared the property, but the now moved owners are liable for all of the taxes and maintenance, and technicalities enable the bank to keep from having to put the foreclosure in their balance sheets, and so decrease the apparent percentage of bad loans they have made. The owners don't leave or move away on a whim - they are evicted from the bank, informed they are being foreclosed, and then the bank doesn't follow through in order to keep its balance sheets looking clean and to avoid responsibility for maintenance, taxes, etc. It should be illegal for banks to do this.
Tony Doot May 08, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Realistically most of the 'Zombie homes" are tenant occupied and the owner either does not know or does not care. I believe the latter is more accurate. We have been selling so many of our homes to investors from out of the area because it is a quick cash sale. We run to it the bank and leave it all behind for someone else to deal with. Many of these buyers have never even seen the house, few do any improvements and just throw it on the rental market. Don't see it - Don't know it - Don't care - they just collect the cash. There are 2 solutions to the problem. #1 -Check who your buyer is - "owner occupied" or not? It is in the contract. Follow up in a month or 2 to see who is living there. If it is not the buyer it is breach of contract - take the house back. #2 - Push the City to follow up on any "anti-ugly" laws that are in place. If there are none then push to get them! If the house is vacant, go after the bank that owns it and fine/lien the property. Easy way for the City to pick up some quick cash of their own.


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