Hi...I'm currently in escrow and expect to close next week. I just happened to drive by the house and noticed police cars. Turns out the house

Asked by Mzlibra00, California Thu Jul 19, 2012

had been broken into! Now I'm having secon thoughts about wanting the house considering I have 2 young daughters. My husband and I are thinking about backing out but am not sure if we can. If we did I believe we will more than likely lose our deposit. Any advice?

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Meredith McK…, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
This is a new and material fact affecting your purchase of this property. You need to ask your agent to immediately request a revised Transfer Disclosure Statement from the seller detailing this break-in. You have 3 days from receipt of this disclosure to back out of the deal and receive your deposit money back. You also have the right to remain in the transaction and close as planned.

Good Luck!

Meredith McKenzie
Broker Associate #01142186
Podley Properties
626-344-9755 - Cell
626-243-4330 - Direct
1 vote
Marilyn Jenne, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Did you investigate the neighborhood? Let's face it, these things happen (everywhere). A vacant property, in particular, is a target. There is no substitute for knowing your neighbors (who do you think called the police). If your deal has moved beyond contingency removal and you decide to cancel, you will face the prospect (not absolute) of losing the deposit. Reevaluate accordingly.
1 vote
Anthony Merc…, Agent, Hemet, CA
Fri Dec 30, 2016
If the home was damaged during the break in you may have grounds for backing out, also if you have not removed your buyer contingencies and your inspections periods are not up you may also have the grounds for backing out and your deposit being returned (per CAR standard contract) check your contract and check with your realtor,
0 votes
Josh McIntire, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
If it is a vacant house, I wouldn't be to worried because it was likely kids in the area messing around. You should double check that there is no vandalism, damages, or things missing. Your agent should have taken pictures of the property at the beginning. Depending on the crime in the neighborhood, you will likely not have any problems once you move in. Vacant houses are usually targets for hang-out spots. Unless your house is in a gated community, this is not a big surprise...just double check for damages so you don't have to come out of pocket on additional repairs above what you were expecting already.
0 votes
Ron Escobar -…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
It depends on your contract contingencies and where you are... if you removed your contingencies then you can always cancel, but are likely to lose the deposit...

Additionally, a lot of houses are broken into because they are vacant... if this is an empty house is a magnet for young people and others with time in their hands to go out there and cause mischief... put it on perspective, but be cautious...
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
Dear Mzlibra00,

You will likely lose your security deposit on this and there might be some other penalties as well. Best thing will be to contact your Realtor immediately as well as the escrow company to let them know.It is true that vacant homes are targets for theives, so it may be nothing more than that fact.

My advice to you would be to carefully screen all potential neighborhoods for features that are important to you before going forward in any sale. Our Purchase contract impress this fact to all buyers , so that you are protected. The local police departments can be of help as far as crime statistics are concerned.
I would also install some security. Statistics show that criminas will avoid a home with security, in favor of a home without it.
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
As pointed out below, vacant homes are often targeted for burglary because no one there. There was a spate of burglaries that happened in our area where the thieves would go to open houses with lockboxes on them and essentially go shopping, coming back to steal the furniture later.

Crime happens everywhere, even in the nicest places, even in gated communities. If you are concerned you might talk with the local precinct to see what crime is really like in the area.

Whether or not you can back out depends on the seller. The way cancellation works is this (assuming you are in escrow with a title company): The title company issues cancellation instructions that all parties must sign in order for you to get your deposit back. My guess is you would argue that the house being broken into is new information and the seller would argue that it's beyond their control and researching crime in the area was part of your due diligence. Hard to say how it would shake out but I would think hard about this if you really like the house
0 votes
Janey Bishop, Agent, Encino, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
Risk to a vacant house is always more than to an occupied house. Either they were looking to hang out or looking for unguarded material which will not be the case when you are living there. Or add an alarm.

You might be able to cancel but don't give up a good house too hastily.
0 votes
Mzlibra00, Home Buyer, California
Fri Jul 20, 2012
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm feeling a lot less concerned this morning after having slept on it. I know these things happen but it had never happened to me (and I guess still haven't considering I haven moved in) so just the thought of it happening again worries me. We do plan to take security measures and purchase an alarm do we shall see. Thanks again.
0 votes
As someone who has bought several homes in different cities over the years, I always check with police departments first thing before starting a search for a house. I ask for the boundaries of crime areas. If they are prevented from doing that ("redlining", you know!) you can get the public record of all crimes committed and figure out what areas to avoid.
Flag Fri Jul 20, 2012
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Jul 20, 2012
There is a HIGH probability you will lose more than your deposit.

Are you really looking for a CRIME FREE community?
I suspect they do not exist.

However, communities do exist with access control gates, cameras one every corner, guards recording every vehicle entering and leaving and the name of the occupants. These enclaves of opulent monotony exist in every city and most certainly in California. Unfortunately, even in these restrictive communities, they are populated with fault prone humans who sometimes exhibit frustrations with each other resulting in the blue flashing lights.

We all would agree and applaud your concern for the safety and security of your young daughters. It is understood their well being and nurture is your number one responsibility and priority. This often requires difficult decisions. A mother's intuition is a gift that should never be ignored.

Although backing out of this deal would appear costly, irrational and unreasonable, you need to do what is best for your family. The real cost of proving your intuition is correct could be high. Weigh your options, check you gut, do what you believe is right, pay what you have to pay.

Wishing the very best for your family,

Chat with me on:
0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
Vacant homes are targets for break-ins as is a sign for sale....burglaries can happen anywhere, anytime. Use caution and have a security system installed. What would be the point of canceling the escrow? Obviously you dip found a neighborhood that looks out for one another, that can't be beat.
Congrats on your new home.
0 votes
Monique & Joe…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
Hello Mzlibra00,

The seller should have the opportunity of disclosing this. I know I have been burglarized 5 times in my life and twice in the midst of moving in or moving out. You may loose your deposit if you back out.
Break ins happen everywhere.The nicer the neighborhood the bigger the target.

Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
0 votes
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Fri Jul 20, 2012
One break in means nothing. I have seen it happen in the very best of neighborhoods, especially during an economic down turn. If you are really concerned have a security system installed. Because if you cancel now you will probably lose your deposit entirely and there could be other consequences as well. You are just experiencing what we realtors call 'buyers remorse' if it hadn't been the break in it would have been something else. It's just 'the jitters', you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy your new home!
0 votes
Brian Byhower, Agent, Hermosa Beach, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Yeah, stop driving by the house.
0 votes
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