Abandoned Homes, California

Photographs of Foreclosed Homes in the Central Valley, California.

All images by Douglas Smith

This capsule was curated by John Pollock

22 comments to Abandoned Homes, California

  • CatM

    The lost toys and football trophies make me sad. You just know someone was going cray looking for those later.

    The house with the orange and green walls was beautiful.

  • Howie

    Wow… I wonder what the story was with all those IDs?

  • glen

    What appear to be IDs on the counter are real estate agent business cards.

  • Brian

    The IDs are realtor business cards for people that were viewing the home.

  • Anita

    Those aren’t IDs. Those are the business cards of real estate agents.

  • GeorgiePorgie

    Those aren’t ID’s….they’re Realtor business cards. Every time the house is shown to potential buyer’s the Realtor leaves a business card to show they’ve been there.

  • TakeFive

    Working as a realtor, I see a lot of this stuff, and it’s always the little swingset or kiddie pool in the back yard that gets me. Many times not only the house is being lost, but also the marriage.

    The strain of an absurd loan commitment coupled with the arrival of children just overwhelms many young families. From working with these families, I know the months or years of stress and fighting that probably took place before the owners left the home.

    The banks make it worse by offering false hope for a loan mod and putting people on an emotional yo-yo that I think is more destructive than losing the home outright.

  • zok

    As a father of two pre-teen boys, the abandoned trampoline and 49′ers poster on the wall really hit me hard.

    Those kids’ lives were ripped away. I have a pit in my stomach thinking of the night the parents had to break it to them they had to leave home.

    Heartbreaking.

  • Jerry

    Did you see the home with all the ID’s on the kitchen counter? And yes, business cards, though not legal, are a form of ID.

    It’s one obummer of a summer. Plus, the real shit is still to hit. The next thing to lose a foothold is interest rates. Who would want to by T-bonds when yearly outlays are larger than GDP. Then our inflation gets a steroid shot, (and you thought is was bad now). These homes dissolve into Detroit landscapes as more and more become homeless and our socialist utopia really takes hold and blossoms.

    We’re all socialists now!

  • PacRim Jim

    This is nothing new.
    Only the quantity is new.

  • Michael

    I started looking at houses in earnest January 1 2010. I walked through many surrendered homes, and most looked much worse than your pictures.

    I always had my camera, but I only took pictures of the houses I was interested in making an offer on. I should have taken pictures of all of them, because words don’t quite cover what I saw.

    I saw what once was a substantially expensive house, with white crust (mold) on the walls, green stuff growing on the windowsills, and a basement with six inches of standing water with black mold growing up the basement walls.

    I saw a house with all the interior doors missing. This house also had the basement subdivided into six small rooms, all with nearly knee-deep trash in them. One bedroom was lime green. Another was fire-engine red.

    I saw several homes with leaky roofs, that subsequently destroyed the drywall ceilings and floors.

    I saw a home with plumbing (drain) fixed with soup cans held together with wire.

    I saw a home with a sump-pump who’s discharge tube was frozen solid, and had burst, creating a small lake right against the back of the house, with the sump pump running continuously.

    So much wealth destroyed by neglect.

  • patrick1

    Scenes from Obamaville would be more accurate.

  • mac

    These pictures are demonstrations of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Every foreclosed home has a different story but a thread running through many of them is that the owners should never have been granted the financing to buy in the first place. Because this is an incredibly generous nation, these owners got a shot at taking on a financial burden that many of them obviously couldn’t handle. Remember “NINA” and “NINJA” loans? Here’s the result.

    They’re guilty of misjudgement (no one held a gun to their heads and forced them to sign) but so are we as a society. Home ownership requires a sizable financial cushion because homes are expensive and unexpected problems arise on a regular basis. We as a nation lowered the financial requirements for home ownership due to political pressure from the left. The lefties should have learned from the earlier failure of affirmative action at universities. You aren’t doing someone who isn’t qualified to match the competition any favors by letting them into a university where they just aren’t up to competing. In most cases they soon realize that and drop out. Same thing applies here.

  • Anonymous

    I cleaned every bit of my home, including the refrigerator and the stove. Swept the garage and left all the touch-up paint and hardwood floor extras neatly stacked.

    I hope all our hard work will bless some new owner.

    I miss it. It wasn’t a big place, just my dream place.

  • J Sammons

    Dear MAC,

    I read your comment. Did you take into account unemployment??? We’re losing our home of 15 YEARS!! NOT BECAUSE WE SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE AND COULDN’T AFFORD IT!! WE’VE BEEN AFFORDING IT FOR A LONG TIME!! I’ve raised 4 kids in this house!! My son is a West Point!! Last year my husband almost grossed 200,000.00!! He lost his job earlier this year and down we went. Don’t be so quick to judge!! Many people are in this situation!!

    Signed,

    Angry at MAC and people like him

  • Methadras

    All banks had to do was extend loans beyond the 30 year period and offer either 40 or 50 year loans temporarily to lessen payments and stretch out the burden until these people could get right again and they can stay in the home, still make payments, and not eat a foreclosure and blight entire neighborhoods. Even convert 5 – 10 year interest only to 30 year mortgages temporarily until stuff blows over. None of this occurred to my awareness and the modification laws didn’t help either.

    Instead if you were on the cusp of financial trouble, the banks via the modification laws literally require you to nearly bankrupt yourself and destroy your credit for months before they even think of being able to help you. Then and maybe then, they will look at your application and in most cases summarily deny you any modifications at all. It’s a scam. The whole thing and it was totally unnecessary and the American people once again are left holding the bag.

  • TakeFive

    Methadras – that sounds good but the reality is most folks re-default after a loan mod. Believe me, I’ve seen many times. Even with a mod, you still owe the full balance plus all the added fees. When your loan balance increases while your home value is dropping, the psychological pressure is too much, especially since the payment may not be reduced enough.

    J Sammons – my sympathy. You might be luckier than some though. I visit people in their 70s and older that had a home paid free and clear. Then they borrowed to lend their kids money to buy a home. Kid lost the home and the parents are soon to be homeless too. How would you like to be 70 with a half million dollar mortgage on your home of 40 years and $1000 a month in social security income? Some of these folks are shattered.

  • christiangel

    Dear MAC -

    What goes around comes around – what is being done to decent people in this country and around the world is absolutely horrible.

    Blame it on people that are poor – typical jerk! So, only rich people should be able to live decently, right?

    You are disgusting, and eventually what you do to others will happen to you. Karma NEVER FAILS. Happy Days!

  • NumNutt

    To Mac –
    I agree some what to what you are saying, in 2007-2008 the foreclosures you saw then were related to the type of people you are refering to, never should have been given a loan in the first place. The real problem is the banks and credit agencies. They were handing out free money and giving anyone a good credit raiting. I am one of the sheeple that played by the rules, worked hard, saved, paid bills on time to keep good credit score. I put 80,000 down and built my current house. Well all the equity is gone, had to take a lower paying job, and when I tried to refinance, the bank refused because the appraised value is to low. So now I am walking away, F**K the banks, and F**K this federal gov. Their mis guided policies have destroyed this country. they provided all those pople with free homes, they walked away, now the result is everyone else that did the right thing has to pay. How does Obama sleep at night….

  • theDude

    here is a little speech given by someone named George Bush back in 2002 BTW, you can google it for yourself …

    President Bush’s 2002 Speech

    at the

    Conference on Minority Home Ownership

    George Washington University

    Los Angeles KABC talk show host Doug McIntyre is playing the tape of President Bush’s 2002 speech where President Bush thanked the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for helping assure the right to home ownership for all.

    President Bush said that there is a home ownership gap for minorities. President Bush said that it was important to make monies available for down payments.

    He said that minorities often have a difficult time getting the down payment for a home, trouble acquiring home loans and trouble making monthly mortgage payments.

    President Bush mentioned the billions of dollars spent in vouchers for Section 8 Housing for leased apartments. President Bush said that as it is, Section 8 Housing encourages leases rather than home ownership.

    President Bush said that he would like to see the Section 8 vouchers used as script for down payments and as payment for mortgages instead of leases.

    President Bush said that he would like to have those Section 8 vouchers used instead to help those who can’t afford to make a down payment on a home. President Bush said that he would like Section 8 vouchers to be used as script to help those who have trouble making monthly mortgage payments on a home.

    Help 5 1/2 Million More People Own Their Own Homes

    President Bush spoke of his dream to help 5 1/2 million more people to own their own home within the next five years.

    President Bush called the program “American Dream Down Payment Fund.”

  • Nonya B

    I don’t get all this blame Obama stuff. 99% of the loans granted that inevitably failed were approved while under the Bush regime. Obama just had the bad timing of showing up for the unavoidable collapse.
    Ignorance astounds me.

    How about not blaming ONE person and considering that the chain of events that happened 2008 to current were the results of actions put into play by multiple presidencies.

    Sometimes I’m amazed and embarrassed that I’m even associated on this planet with such closed minded fools.

  • Lauren

    It’s too bad they just sit there with no one living in them. Many of the photos I see here would make beautiful places. I wish i had the money to renovate. I’ve seen so many beautiful places foreclosed and abandoned. =[

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