It always starts out as something small, usually something very innocuous, a fast food bag or a candy wrapper in the front yard. Then, maybe a cardboard box or a household item that didn’t quite make it into the trash container. Then a shovel, a broken lawn mower, a car part. It really doesn’t matter. The yard starts to accumulate more and more until a neighbor notices. The neighbors always notice and while it all began as a very innocent pile, it is now a sprawl that has slowly crept into the rest of the landscape.
Unless you are the last house at the end of a private road, with no neighbors, someone is always going to notice and sooner or later a complaint is going to be made to the city or county and a code enforcement officer is going to be called.
When Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors and good neighbors respect one another’s property” he wasn’t talking about Code Violations and he wasn’t advocating for fences. In fact, the poem derides fences as a option of last resort.
Code Enforcement in Stockton and Sacramento is the Option of Last Resort
Sometimes it takes more than just fences to make for good neighbors, sometimes it’s might take a little nudge, a little encouragement or an out right threat of a fine or a lien on your property. I know, I have been on both sides many code violations and one thing is for certain, in many circumstances they are a necessary way to deal with properties that would otherwise fall into permanent blight. So the question at one point becomes, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I guess it really depends on what side of the code violation that you are on.
Common Types of Code Violations in Stockton and Sacramento
- Trash and debris in the yard
- Unmowed lawns and yards
- Broken down cars
- Safety issues to others in the neighborhood
- Fences falling Down
- Buildings improperly constructed
- Illegal Additions made without proper plans or permits
- Fire Hazards
- Plumbing Issues/broken sewer lines leaching into the yard
- Electrical issues (Jumped Wires, Illegal Taps)
- Bad Tenants
- Unpermitted Additions
- Fire Damage
- Water Damage
- Health Department Issues
Vacant Homes are Code Violation Time Bombs in Stockton
Most code violations in Stockton occur at an unattended or vacant property. I know because it is always where I see my first notice. When We Buy Houses in Stockton, Sacramento or Modesto, it is always with the intent on being the very best of neighbors. We generally clean everything up and secure the house, but in that process, the house, if it wasn’t vacant before becomes a target. Sometimes it’s a boarded door or window that signals the vacancy and while there may not be any neon signs, vacancy is always an attractant to the people that prey on theses houses and they know what to look for.
As a result, vacant homes tend to be the first to attract break ins, vandalism, graffiti, squatters and a lot of other unwanted attention. I have had cars abandoned in the driveway of my house and I have had people dump so much garbage in the front and back yards that the houses looked like the beginnings of a landfill. When that happens, we want the neighbors to complain, hopefully to us first.
Properties that have visible code violations are ticking time bombs. They attract the dregs of society and believe it or not, the presence of someone that is not a part of the neighborhood, creates a sense of despair in neighborhoods that brings down the “esprit de corps” and sense of security.
We all want to be proud of where we live. We like driving through our neighborhood and seeing that the Smiths are painting and the Jones’ are re-doing their landscape. It is a sense of pride and renewal. Sure, sometimes we get envious, but have you ever been envious of the ugliest house on the block?
Believe it or not, after the bubble burst in 2008, many neighbors suffered through the blight and clawed their way back. They remember every third or fourth house in disrepair, tall grass, crap everywhere and a sense of despair. Those days are for the most part gone gone and the house presenting the problems today are also drawing the attention of those neighbors that just want to keep their Stockton neighborhoods free from blight and and free from attracting higher crime rates.
Unfortunately, those same neighbors often have no other recourse than to report those unwanted visitors to their Stockton neighborhoods to the Stockton Police or Sheriff’s department. Once that happens and your house is issued a code violation, it is officially on the radar. You can be certain that a code enforcement officer is assigned to your Stockton House. They visit the house and unless your vacant home is properly secured and maintained your real nightmare begins and your vacant house is “Red Tagged” with a notice to “fix all deficiencies” within a specified timeframe or face a fine.
Any delay by you to fix or clean the vacant house and property will cause the city to issue a fine and if left unattended for a long period of time the City or County can and will contract to have the work done and send you a bill. Left unpaid, the city will file a lien against the property and those fines and penalties can be steep and will not go away.
From that point on any infraction, as simple as a lawn that is not mowed, garbage left on the property, fallen tree branches, or broken windows will cause another visit and another fine. I have personally seen code enforcement fines totals that exceeded the value of the house.
So now your Vacant Stockton House that was once an asset is now a liability that will consume your time and peace of mind because now anything that goes wrong no matter how little will generate a fine and you will need to make sure you are regularly checking for problems like water damage or mold, which can become expensive issues if they go ignored for too long.
Another issue that can come with owning a vacant property is your homeowner’s policy which usually requires the home to be occupied. Vacant house policies are very expensive, almost twice as much as a standard policy. To make matters more stressful, if you don’t change your homeowner’s policy in a timely manner you may lose your insurance coverage altogether if your property is damaged after being vacant for more than 30 days.
So what’s the best solution? We Buy Houses With Code Violations
If you want to keep your Stockton house free from the issues that come with a vacant home you should be doing everything you can to keep the property free damage, litter and crime. Let your local police department know you have a vacant property so they can keep tabs on anything suspicious. Install a security alarm and make sure all locks on window and doors are unbroken.
Also make sure you keep the vacant house maintained to the best of your abilities. Mow the lawn and handle all landscaping needed to make the property appear occupied. The best thing you can do if you have a vacant house in Stockton is regularly visit it and do your best to keep maintenance up. Check smoke detectors, A/C systems, and electrical systems routinely to ensure any preventable problems are stopped.
Inheriting Code Violations
Code Violations are not always a direct result of the homeowners actions. Sometimes it’s vandalism (graffitti, etc.), bad tenants, an abandoned vehicle, or squatters in a vacant house. Whatever the cause it is still the owners responsibility.
We Buy Houses In Stockton Subject to the Code Violations:
We don’t always know the circumstances of our neighbors. Anne was 94 years old and she owned a house across town that had belonged to she and her mother. When the house became vacant after a string of bad tenants, Anne was financially unable to keep up with the property. She hired a maintenance company to keep the grass and weeds down and knew that if they were there twice a month at least they could be her eyes and ears for any serious issues.
Six months after hiring them she got a call from one of the neighbors because the very people she hired to take care of the yard were dumping concrete and other waste materials in her front and back yard. They didn’t return her calls and the City of Stockton issued a code violation. Anne, in all her years was so vulnerable and scared. When I got the call I understood. We get a lot of calls, some for advice others to just let go. I explained to Anne that we buy houses with code violations in Stockton and what that means is that we take on the City and County obligations with the sale of the house. It is called Buying a House Subject to the Code Violations and it is a big deal for homeowners that have lost control.
Annes Case Study Can Be Read here:
It has happened to me. When I bought the property I knew that the code violations were rampant and I knew it was just a ,matter of time. We have purchased several houses in a very short and we were busy and short handed. It was the peak of the building year in 2010 and I knew that at least two neighbors were expecting immediate resolution to a five year old problem. They wanted a pound of flesh, mostly because they cared deeply about their own houses and property values. They were looking for anyone to take on a burden that was theirs but, not theirs. One of the neighbors wanted to sell their house to get away from what he considered the blight. It was a catch 22 because if he put the house on the market with that house right next door, it would not attract the buyers or get the price that they wanted.
When I showed up a week after we bought the house to start the rehab of the house, you would have thought that I had breached a contract with him directly. I guess that if we closed on a Friday I was supposed to be there on Monday morning to get started. He wasted no time, called code enforcement and even though the City of Stockton stopped actually coming out on premise, It was a such a bad nuisance, that they just issued a letter to me in the mail. I had 5 days to make something happen dramatically enough to stave off the neighbor and the City. The catch 22 for me was that my plans had not been approved yet from the City of Stockton Building Department so I could not start construction. The solution was simple. We tore down the fence that was falling down with all adjoining neighbors, cleaned up the yard (front and back, theirs too) and never asked for a penny from any of the neighboring homeowners.
When were done with the house the neighbor that wanted to move had decided that he would stay because the house looked so good. The whole experience ended up being just a bit ironic. In order to sell the house, we actually painted the front the other neighbors house to complete the curb appeal. Yeah it cost me some money, but we sold the house for top dollar
Code enforcement has changed over the years and in most cities, Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto operate according to a compliance based enforcement. It is mostly a reactive type of enforcement. Someone calls and the code enforcement Officer responds with a visit. It really is that simple. Most code enforcement officers dont want to cause problems, they want to help the homeowner find solutions for the best result in each neighborhood.
It does not take a degree in environmental studies or sociology to figure out that neighborhoods, like domino’s, will collapse under their own weight if left to chance their their own devices.
What if you’re tired of dealing with the problems that come with a vacant house in Stockton house all together?
If you don’t want to spend any more of your time and money trying to maintain the home, we can help you!
My Name is Peter Westbrook and I an a Cash Home Buyer in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto. Let me deal with the issues that come with owning a vacant house in Stockton. It’s not just that We Buy Houses With Code Violations in Stockton, it’s that we know what to do to take care of it once and for all. Let us buy your house and that will let you get on with your life. Code Enforcement gone, phone calls gone, liability gone.
We’ll make you an all cash offer for your property no matter the condition, location, or repairs needed. Well buy your Stockton House “As-is”, clean it and in some cases even pay the fines. I have helped hundreds of Stockton Families turn their Liability into back into an Asset. What have you got to lose? Even the call is FREE.
Speaker 1: Hello everyone, Peter Westbrook, with Westbrook real estate investments. Today I’m out in front of a house on Phelps Street in Stockton, California. This is a house that I have just purchased. It’s a code violation waiting to happen, again and again and again.
If you’re wondering what a code violation is, then you don’t know what a house like this does within cities and counties. I’m going to explain it you, a code violation is where the city or the county come and they say, “Your grass is too high, you have too much garbage in your yard, you’ve got all kinds of things happening at the house that you’re not maintaining, and if you don’t take care of it, we will.” And that means that they’re going to send somebody out to clean up the mess, and then they’re going to charge you for it, and if you don’t pay it, they’re going to put a tax lien on your property, and you won’t be able to sell your house until that is paid.
Now, somebody who buys your house can always buy the house subject to that code enforcement violation, but that means it’s got to be an investor. Let me tell you, banks are not going to lend money on a house like this. Banks do not want homeowners dealing with anything that will distract them from making a payment.
As I walk around I see that somebody has also done us a favor here, and in the past couple of days they’ve dumped a bunch of shingles inside the lot. This is a very large, double sized lot. So what you’re looking at is a house that has got challenges. The challenges are based on where it’s located and what’s going on, we’ll just say in the neighborhood.
My name is Peter Westbrook, and if you own a house like this, I would love to talk to you about buying it. I’m a cash home buyer, real estate investor in Stockton, Sacramento, in Modesto, California, and these are the types of houses that I buy, I also buy nicer ones. But if you own a house like this, give me a call. My phone number is 209-481-7780. My website address is https://www.westbrookrei.com, or www.ibuyhousesstockton.com, or www.webuyhousessacramento.org . Either way I’d love to talk to you. Again, Peter Westbrook, 209-481-7780, and thanks for watching.
We Buy Houses With Code Violations in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto.