7 On Your Side
Selling your home and protecting it
NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's an important warning for anyone selling a house, an empty house.
7 On Your Side encountered a frightening example of how you can be hurt.
We're talking vandals, thieves, even squatters.
So what can you do to prevent all that?
"This is bad, makes me sad," Lisa Scott said.
"I know baby everything's going to be okay," Richard Scott said.
If this was your home you'd be crying too.
The stench is only the beginning of the damage someone did to the Bay Shore house.
Everywhere you turn, something is ruined and Richard and Scott have no idea who did this.
"I hear from my brother, there was a squatter living in the house. (How did he know?) He passed by and saw the lights on the AC going!" Scott said.
The Scotts haven't lived in the home for two years.
Back in 2009 the house slipped into foreclosure so they put it up for sale and moved down south.
In the meantime, the home was torn apart.
After police scared off the squatters, in came the scammers.
When Richard and his wife arrived back in Suffolk County to inspect the damage they found someone else moving in.
"She asked me what I was doing at her house!" Scott said.
A Craigslist scammer had listed the Scott's property, showed it to a renter and took a $4,000 deposit from her.
Another police report was filed, and the couple tried to secure their twice targeted house.
Richard boarded the door from the inside and changed the locks, but after he did that someone came back and broke in by busting this hole in from the garage and stole everything. They even stole the kitchen sink.
The fridge is gone and the hardwood floor has been ripped up.
The thieves even made off with the heating pipes.
Richard says their latest foe is their mortgage company, Bank of America.
The Scotts got three cash offers on their ranch right away, but to this day Bank of America has yet to green light any of the deals.
"I would have been free and clear of this house in July 2010 and none of this would've happened," Scott said.
The house's value plummeted.
Eyewitness News asked the bank about the hold up.
Bank of America said three short sales were initiated but none closed because of insufficient documentation.
Richards' real estate broker and attorney say their paperwork was complete and blame Bank of America's inefficient automated system for leaving their client in the lurch for a year.
After 7 On Your Side got involved, a bank of America representative reached out to the Scotts, promising to expedite the offers.
Hopefully a sale will go through before anything else happens to the house.
CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE
7 on your side, nina pineda
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