Removing Fixtures/Valuables before foreclosure?

Hey Guys,
I have a property that will either fall victim to short sale or foreclosure.
Possibly “deed-in-lieu”, we’ll see.

Nevertheless, here’s my question.
Are there any legalities that specify that you are not allowed to remove valuables from the property prior to foreclosure.

For example. My house was a standard model model home… no upgrades.
I spent $10-15k adding wood floors, stainless steel appliances, fancy ceiling fans, and a nice PVC privacy fence. When I purchased the home it was bare. I’m curious, if I can remove the items I purchased on my own and take them to my new property.
As far as i’m concerned these are my personal items that I purchased and are not structurally attached to the home nor were they included in the original appraisal value of the home.


Josh B.

I know that you can take the appliances out. As far as the rest I think anyone would stop you but remember if the lender sues you to sign a promissary note then that note is based on what you owe on the loan compared to what it sold for after foreclosure.

This is not legal advice, just a perspective.


Really? You have wood floors and ceiling fans that aren’t attached to the building? How does that work? Are your ceiling fans on tall free-standing posts?

You’ve got a fence that isn’t attached to anything? Doesn’t it blow down when the wind blows?

Your improvements stay with the property. Maybe you should have used that money to make your mortgage payments instead of using it to up-grade.

The appliances, if they are not built-ins, can probably go with you. Except, when the bank loaned on the property, it had appliances, so maybe you could take your good ones and replace them with some inexpensive used ones.

I think you are at least obligated to return it to the same state that it was in when the lender appraised the property.

So if you take your new stuff, you may want to put the old stuff back.

But in reality, I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes.

I see a lot of guys ripping everything out all the time, the latest fiasco I watched someone auctually take out the drywall too. Don’t get caught and I suppose you can do what you will.

I hate it when people strip the place. YES you have an obligation to keep the house the way it is. Did you do those home improvements just for the hell of it? …nope you did them to improve the value of your home, so leave it the way it is! Look be happy you are getting a free place to stay for the next few months but don’t take the crap. And for the record I’ve even seen people take the ducting out of the vents - why?? Cuz they are jack asses…

and if you hold on long enough and it goes through foreclosure, you might be able to get some moving monies from your lender(depending on the lender and your homes condition)… man I don’t get this system

This is a question of “Real Property” vs. “Personal Property”…broadly meaning attached vs. not attached.

In some locations it is standard practice to have and leave appliances, in other locations, it is not. And with so many things, it depends.

Is the answer different depending on who is getting the house? I mean if the house was being sold to another purchaser (as opposed to going back to the bank) would that make things different?

A pile of wood in the garage is personal property as it is unattached and easily removable; but once the wood is used to replace flooring, it becomes real property as it is now attached to the structure.

I don’t think there is an exact answer but my opinion would be that the wood floors & privacy fence are “real” property and stay with the residence. The appliances may be considered personal property depending on how they are installed and the ceiling fans - well use your judgment.


I don’t think it matters what area your in, my understanding is your not to strip down a house. Lets face it; you don’t own it anymore which means your stealing/vandalizing. But then again, they are deep enough into the property already. I would imagine to sue would just tie the property up some more and rack up even more expenses.

Look at the upside-- a better potential deal for you :deal

Here in MI they are pulling everthing out, wiring, copper plumbing and selling it for scrap. Nothing happens to them, all that suing you would do is cost money and tie the property up for even longer.
Not condoning it, but I have yet to hear of a lender do anything to someone after foreclosure.

I agree with you completly. its just easier to suck up the loss and move on. I do a lot of deals in MI, where in MI are you? Maybe we can network on some projects.

That’s happening in Texas with new homes. They put the plumbing in, come back the next day and it’s all gone. Not sure there’s an abandoned building in the state that still has any copper left in it. When the price went up so did the theft, like everywhere else in the country.

I can not see stripping the home, but if you put in an expense ceiling fan then remove it and place a cheap $10 light from Home Depot there. Chances are no one knows the fan was there. Appliances can be taken I feel since many people maybe making payments on them still with store credit cards. Heck you paying , take it. Many people like to buy new fridgerators when they buy a home. Many rehabs I do, I never have a fridge or washer and dryer put in as many people want there own. Some like stainless steel side by sides, others want a top/bottom and in black…
plus you never recoup the cost of new appliances in a rehab.