Other than the economic woe, there is another force adding a nasty and destructive edge to foreclosures. Evicted owners vandalize their homes before leaving them for good, and that leaves a mess behind for buyers.
Hammers through walls, water faucets left on, stolen countertops and fixtures are just a few of the foreclosure horror stories that FOX 9 News has heard about, but one young couple looking to buy a foreclosed home in Anoka found themselves startled by threatening graffiti that made them re-think their purchase.
"This is our first time purchasing a home," said Nate Kruckeberg.
Kruckeberg and his girlfriend said the Anoka home was like a dream come true.
"I love that there is a lot of potential in this house -- lots of opportunity to rehab the house, and it's in a nice neighborhood," he said.
Yet, when the couple was on the verge of closing, they were jolted when they stopped by the home, which has been vacant for several months, to find it had been vandalized over the weekend.
"It was extremely exciting until this happened," Kruckeberg admitted.
The pair found someone had spray-painted a squiggly line around the whole structure, finishing it off with a seemingly threatening message that read, "Take my house (expletive)… only going to get worse."
"It instilled a lot of fear both within us and our family," Kruckeberg said. "We had thoughts of walking away from the home, but we are not going to let that deter us.
Minneapolis realtor Erik Brown was not involved in that house sale, but he says it's not uncommon to see that kind of foreclosure mischief.
"We just had a closing where folks had hammered through every wall and every door," he said. "We've also seen spray painted walls, where they write, 'We're coming back.' They don't."
Law enforcement officers in Anoka say they hear about graffiti and damage regularly at homes where the residents have been evicted, but that's often handled by the banks and property owners -- not with police investigations.