Thursday, December 14, 2006

"As Is" Not What It Was

A foreclosure report from the Virginia Pilot. "When Branson Barry saw the gated house off the Chesapeake Bay, he figured he could splash on a new coat of paint, lay new carpets and resell it for a profit. So he bought the foreclosed house in July for $592,000, as is. But the house is not what it was."

"After the previous owner moved out last week, Barry found the house had been gutted of everything, including the bathroom sink. Now Barry has filed a police report. He alleges that the former owner, Chauncey Hannibal caused $40,000 to $50,000 in damage and is waiting for police to decide whether to file charges."

"A police detective will determine what property belonged to whom before warrants are issued, said police spokeswoman Margie Long."

"The three-bedroom house at the corner of Shore Drive and Beech Street was not a fixer-upper. It was built for Hannibal in 1996. Then Hannibal ran into financial trouble, filed for bankruptcy twice in three years, and could not pay up. Two liens on the house had to be cleared before Barry could take possession. Once that was done, he had to evict Hannibal. In November, a judge ordered Hannibal out in 10 days, four months after the house was sold."

"Barry thinks that's when Hannibal ripped out the marble floor and the granite counter tops. 'He literally took everything but the kitchen sink,' Barry said."

"The security keypad was taken. Light fixtures that hid security cameras at the gate were missing. And so was the gate. 'The doorbell should come with the house,' Barry said."

"Inside, air vent filters, in-wall speakers, an intercom system and gas wood for the downstairs fireplace were gone. The spot where a ceiling fan used to be looked as if it had been ripped down in haste, wires and all. Upstairs, the floor of the master bathroom resembled a quarry pit, crumbled, cracked and bare. Scraped chunks of marble left exposed white tile around the tub."

"Hannibal could not be reached for comment. His phone number, listed in a 2006 bankruptcy petition, has been changed."


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