Winterized Vacant House = Bank-Owned?

If a vacant house has a notice on the front that it has been “winterized” does that definitely mean the property is a bank-owned REO? I had been under that impression up until last night…a vacant house I’m tracking had a standard winterization notice on the front door, but beside it there’s an additional notice that says, "This property has been determined to be vacant and abandoned. The information will be reported to the mortgage servicer. The mortgage servicer intends to protect this property from waste and/or deterioration…(yadda yadda)…If this property is NOT VACANT and ABANDONED, please call your mortgage servicer immediately."

Both notices are dated the same day. This leads me to suspect the bank does not yet own this house. I suspect the payments are just way late so they sent a field rep out to inspect the house to see if it’s vacant; they saw it IS vacant and so they’re protecting their interest.

All this time I thought any winterized house with a field rep notice on the front door is automatically a bank-owned. Was I wrong?

Why would banks be the only ones to winterize a house?

There are lots of snow birds in my area, and I am certain that every single house owned by a snowbird is currently winterized.

I had a rental winterized for a couple of weeks between tenants. I’ve got a house for sale that is winterized. I’ve got a nice travel trailer that is winterized. I’ve got a water cistern and underground irrigation system that is winterized. None of those are bank owned.

I don’t have any notices on the doors, but the house for sale has notices that it is winterized in several places inside the house.

I understand that…however ALL of the ones I’m referring to have field rep winterization notices on the door which leads me to believe they weren’t winterized by the homeowner…I could be wrong there too, but as you mentioned, you didn’t have them put a notice on your front doors. In addition, all of these houses are currently in varying levels of disrepair, are located in lower-class areas, and are thought to be vacant/abandoned. Sorry I didn’t make that more clear.

I was under the assumption that the banks wouldn’t (or even couldn’t) get into a house at all before they foreclosed. Now I’m not so sure if that is the case based on what I just saw.

Banks lately have been securing houses prior to the foreclosure date to secure there interest in the property. This being said I would definitely check the tax records and talk to the neighbors to see If i could find the owners. Neighbors know everything,

Cheers :slight_smile:


So you noticed it too. I can’t blame them actually, if they’re gonna get it back anyway may as well not have busted plumbing, flooding, and mold.

By the way Sean I’m really enjoying your podcasts…great stuff!

When the owner of a property is behind on their payments and the bank is preparing to foreclose, it is common that a field inspector will visit the property. If the property appears to be vacant and abondaned they will post the door with the message you found and take control of the property. I agree with Sean, now would be a good time to track down the owner.