Sellers and buyers beware. In the latest real estate news, squatters are on the rise in vacant homes nationwide. Though laws vary on said persona non grata from state to state, you can help prevent the escalation of squatting-related issues in your properties.
Why is squatting on the rise?
Squatters have always existed, but the trend is typically subsequent of larger issues. Common after the 2006 housing bubble popped, and despite the upturn in the market, economic pressures are again resulting in squatting issues. Among them: stagnant wages, high rental rates, and a lack of alternatives for affordable housing in many area markets.
Internet home listings and the availability of squatting tips and tricks, both free and for purchase on the Internet, further add fuel to squatting campfires.
Prevent squatting in homes:
• Keep things clean.
Overgrown, unkempt homes are a flashing advertisement for those looking for a hideout. Keep grass cut, bushes trimmed, trash cleared, and the home’s exterior as clean as possible.
• Don’t advertise empty homes.
Keep blinds closed so whatever – or whoever – is inside remains in question.
• Fake habitation.
Especially in unlisted homes or those without signage. Add a lamp with a timer in select rooms.
• Enlist help.
Ask neighbors to park in the driveway and keep an eye on the property, leaving them a card with your contact information. It’s in their best interest and many are happy to help.
In most states, establishing utilities and establishing residency with bills can be sufficient to legally prove residency – which complicates or delays squatter eviction. Check mailboxes regularly for out of the ordinary posts and contact utility companies regarding your home’s vacancy status to head off issues at the pass.
Don’t let your ignorance of area real estate news end up crashing the party at your next open house. Keep informed with Properties Online today.