Saturday 10 December 2022
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Buffalo Residents Grapple With Real Estate “Zombie Apocalypse”

House sinking in water , housing crisis,flooding, ect. conceptSpeculating about what life would be during a zombie apocalypse can be a fun way to pass the time until your favorite zombie TV series returns in the fall, but what would you do if the zombie apocalypse actually happened? Well in some ways, it already has — even in New York state.

The undead are popping up in cities and suburbs across the nation in the form of “zombie homes,” a term used to describe foreclosed homes that have been completely abandoned by their former residents. With the owner gone, the bank still technically does not have complete ownership of the home, leaving it to go without any kind of maintenance or upkeep. Not only are these homes unsightly, but they’re also dangerous — with many needing to be demolished due to mold and rat infestations.

Furthermore, these houses are difficult to sell and negatively impact the property values of surrounding homes. Such is the case in Tonawanda, NY, where residents describe the ghastly, hulking properties as as “deplorable.”

Rosemary Carriero, who lives next to a particularly infamous zombie home on Harrison Road in Tonawanda has gone so as far as to express her concerns directly to town officials, who agree something must be done. Like so many other zombie homes, the house has a colorful legal history and plenty of red tape, making it difficult for the city of Buffalo to do much of anything with it, let alone demolish it.

According to a Newsday study, nearly 2.1 out of every 1,000 houses in New York state can be considered a “zombie house.” In addition, the Buffalo News recently reported that the city of Buffalo had identified roughly 15,000 “problem properties” while an additional 7,000 exist throughout Erie County. RealtyTrac, a California-based real estate information company, reported a staggering 223% increase in foreclosure filings in Buffalo compared to the same time last year.

On average, homeowners may spend between 1 – 4% of a home’s value each year on maintenance and repairs, but the possibility of foreclosure sends many homeowners into a panic, causing them to make rash decisions or simply abandon the property altogether. However, homeowners have the right to remain living in their homes until the foreclosure process is complete — which, in New York state, can take as many as 986 days.