The record number of foreclosures can bring opportunities for investors, but also headaches and even danger. Stores abound regarding displaced homeowners with little to lose defacing and destroying property before they leave. I’ve read about water being left on, fixtures stripped, and even holes punched in the walls. Nothing, however, compares to the recent story about what a real estate agent found in a foreclosed Cape May, New Jersey house.
It seems the older, former property owner had a WWI artillery shell in his possession, which he left behind for the new owner. (How these shells made it to the US after the war, and why people kept them, boggles the mind, but that’s another story.) The startled agent called the Cape May bomb squad, who verified that the shell was live. The authorities transported the rusted shell to Atlantic City’s Bader Field for destruction. Eight homes were evacuated during the incident as a precaution.
If there’s a moral to this tale, it’s to approach foreclosures very cautiously. If you expect at least a few surprises, you won’t be startled by what you find.