Personal property is not real estate. However, fixtures are real estate because they are not personal property; they are affixed to the land, to the house, which means fixtures stay with the house.
However, that doesn't stop some desperate homeowners from smashing walls to rip out Romex wiring or copper pipes and selling them for scrap. Some misguided homeowners, angry at the bank for foreclosing, think it's somehow permissible to turn the home into a total nightmare.
The following items are assets, fixtures that should not be removed from a home that is in foreclosure:
•Cabinets and counter tops
•Appliances such as stoves, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, etc.
•Furnaces and air conditioning units
•Plumbing and copper pipes
•Romex or other electrical wiring
•Light fixtures and ceiling fans
•Doors and hardware
•Flooring, ceilings and walls
•Windows and vents
•Medicine cabinets, sinks, tubs, toilets and showers
•Sink drains and faucets
•Built-in shelving / bookcases
•Landscaping, fencing, built-in pools and spas
If a homeowner leaves behind personal belongings, the lender will seize those items. If the lender stores them, the home owner could be charged for storage.
Here are items a homeowner can remove without fearing prosecution:
•All personal items brought into the home by the owner such as furniture, clothing and common household items such as dishes, pans and silverware
•Personal artwork and photographs from walls
•Pets and pet-related items such as dog houses, aquariums, bird cages
•Easily removable window coverings such as drapes or curtains
•Refrigerators, televisions, computers and stereo equipment
•Throw and area rugs
•Portable fans and heaters
Vandalism of Homes in Foreclosure
It's not all right to spray paint the walls or windows with graphic images or tagging. Sometimes homeowners turn on all the water faucets and plug up the drains before departing.
Homeowner's insurance companies are most likely to pursue and prosecute sellers who vandalize or strip their homes while in foreclosure. When the bank receives title to the home through foreclosure proceedings, many banks submit an insurance claim to the existing insurance company to cover damage and missing real property items.
Insurance companies then actively go after the sellers because the company has faced a loss due to the seller's intentional behavior.