Neighbor wants to buy vacant bank-owned residence and tear it down

Q: A house next door to us has been empty for a few years, and the only real maintenance is cutting the grass. A company did pump the basement several times the first two winters that the utilities were off. I can only imagine the mold in there!

The underside is open in spots, and animals crawl underneath and make themselves cozy. One of our dogs has been sprayed twice this year by a skunk. The town spread mothballs to discourage wildlife but with limited results. It would be nice to know if we had some recourse to recover the costs of maintaining it. We’ve done a lot – trimming bushes, weeds, etc. – to keep it from looking like complete trash and ruining our yard.

Also, depending on the cost and headaches, I would love to buy this property, knock everything but the garage down and combine the two yards. I have looked all over the Internet to find information, to no avail.

The tax records still list the previous owner, but there are stickers on the door, and the newest one has an email for

Besides trying to get information through that email, which I suspect would garner, “This is the wrong department,” what would be the next best step?

My wife and I are at our wit’s ends with the joys of living next door to a vacant property! – M. K.

A: Hire a real estate broker who has experience dealing with bank-owned property to act as your agent, investigate the situation and try to negotiate a purchase.

You could have a problem placing a mortgage with the house in that condition and your plan to remove it. If you could offer all cash, that would probably help.

Edith Lank will respond personally to any question sent to

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