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Stuff I’d Miss If a Bank Stole My House…

by J. Money on Friday, July 26, 2013

Yesterday I came across a headline so ridiculous sounding that I thought it was fake: “Bank Accidentally Steals Woman’s Belongings, Refuses To Make Restitution“.

Well, it wasn’t.

The short story goes like this: Woman goes on vacation for two weeks and comes back to a ransacked house with new locks on the doors. She calls police and finds out a bank (not her own) repossessed it and got rid of all her stuff. The reason? It was an accident.

Turns out the repo team went to the wrong house (“because the gps took us there and there was long grass on it”), and now this poor woman has to figure out a way to get reimbursed for it all. And so far the bank, according to her, is not cooperating – making it even more of a nightmare.

You can read more about it here at WBNS-10TV News, and watch their 2 min. interview they did on the story too. Some pretty messed up $hit.

After reading/watching I then had to take to Twitter, of course, and pass on this crazy news – maybe hoping it would help her out in some small way ;) Only time will tell on that one, but in doing so I found out mistaken foreclosure isn’t as uncommon as you’d think. A friend (@katie_lake) saw my tweet and jumped right in saying:

“Something similar happened here but homeowners were home. Called lawyer/police while company cont to remove contents.”

Isn’t that crazy??? One day all is good in the world, and the next someone is (incorrectly) trying to steal your stuff? AND house?! It probably does no good thinking about what you’d do in that case, or how to even prevent it since the odds it’ll happen to any of us is STILL rare, but it did get me thinking about my “stuff” in general.

How much would I really miss if it disseapared one day? What do I TRULY need/want from it all? Would I even NOTICE half the stuff I’d be missing at the end of the day?

I took a hot minute to think about it, and then came up with a list of the stuff that would REALLY upset me to lose. And that list wasn’t all that long, incredibly enough:

  • My coin collection — Half of which I inherited from my grandparents.
  • My baseball/basketball card collection– Sorta for the value, but also for the memories it brings back too. And I really want to pass them down to the wee one later on.
  • My metal detecting finds — Same with these. Semi-valuable coming from the Civil War and all, but mainly a memory inducer.
  • My photo albums — Or rather, the *photos* themselves. The ones all pre-digital age ;)
  • My work computer — I back everything up, but the idea of someone else having/stealing it with all its content scares the bejesus outta me. If I ever lose it I hope it’s from a fire over a dumb repo.
  • My safe — Where you can find said backup, as well as other important docs like passports, birth certificates, and a big wad of cash. You know, just in case of emergencies like this ;)
  • My boxes of notes from middle/high school — I’m gonna come off as a giddy little school girl with this one, but the truth of the matter is that I’d miss all those guys for a while. They’re really the only things I have left from traveling the country/world growing up in the military life, and some small part of me I reckon holds on to them since nothing was ever stable. I could probably do without them if push came to shove, but I’d need at least one last day to read over them all again. Preferably with my old high school friends if I could find them ;)

So, what’s that – 7 things? All of which could fit in the back of my trunk? That’s not too bad, I don’t think… And in reality I could live without all of that too, if I really had to. Now granted you’d *need* more than that to exist in this world like clothes and food and some sort of furniture to sit/sleep on, but all that stuff can be easily replaced without any attachment-problems. Same with all the decorations in our house really, minus maybe the Santa painting ;)

I thought I’d take it a step further and ask what the Mrs. would miss too, and her answers were a bit more… ummm… non-minimalistic? ;) Here’s what was on her list – after I rudely awoken her from her nap so I could get this post finished, haha…

  • Our $2,000 mattress/bed –  “It’s soooo comfortable!” (She had won it in a contest years back – don’t think we would have bought that thing elsewise ;))
  • All her makeup — “It was hard to put it all together!”
  • All her clothes — See above
  • All her research books/notebooks on her dissertation topic — All stuff needed to help her writer her paper and some pretty hard to come by.
  • Her dissertation computer — Where all her other notes and writings are.
  • All her jewelry — mainly her engagement ring (she doesn’t wear a lot cuz it scratches the baby), as well as my grandma’s old passed down jewelry to her.
  • All our baby’s stuff — ‘Cuz she picked it all out and “it’s all so perfect for him!”
  • And a handful of other “memory” items… I won’t bore you with the details of those though. (Read: too embarrassing to post)

So a little different than my take on this, but I think we’d manage okay if we had to clear the house at any given point in time. Minus, let’s say, the big ass bed ;)

But it’s all rather interesting to step back and think about whenever you get in that type of mood. And I forever think about George Clooney’s “backpack” speech too now cuz of that dang Up In The Air movie, haha… That backpack DOES get heavy in our lives!

Anywho, all good stuff to think about over the weekend… Maybe it’s time to de-clutter a little and make some side money getting rid of a few things? What do you think you could comfortably let go of, either now, or later, when your house gets randomly foreclosed on? ;)

I pray a thousand times over that it’ll never happen to any of us, but this world sure is crazy and I wouldn’t put it past it anymore… Better to think about what’s important to us now, than later!


{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 EJ July 26, 2013 at 7:38 am

definitely food for thought! I am more like you in the sense that I don’t really worry too much about material things. As long as all the family and dogs got out ok and I managed to get the photo albums I reckon I’d be happy. An house I was living in a few years ago caught fire while I was at work. My dogs were inside. When my boyfriend and i drove into our street it was like CSI. Red tape, fire engines, media and all our neighbours in the street watching the flames consume our house. I didn’t even realise I was jumping out of our still moving car because all I could think about were my dogs. The firemen pushed me back when i tried to run in and a cop grabbed me. When I asked the fireman where my dogs were he said “what dogs mam we haven t seen any dogs. ” As you can imagine i pretty much broke down and said my prayers that my dogs had somehow escaped. They were answered. The next thing i know they get the side gate open and my dogs tumbled out and while had some smoke inhalation were relatively unscathed. It was a pretty divine moment for me because not only did my dogs make it ( they are my babies) the photo albums and family home videos survived-but NOTHING material made it. All turned to ash. Since then I have been able to “let go” of things a lot easier!

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2 J. Money July 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

Holy smokes!! (no pun intended). SOOOO glad that story had a happy ending, I was afraid there for a second! What a crazy thing to happen to someone, I’m so glad everyone was safe and you know have a different outlook in life. There’s a lot of beauty in that :)

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3 Lance @ Money Life and More July 26, 2013 at 7:52 am

I read about this and it just astounds me how irresponsible banks and companies can be. Look at the house number! Make sure that other things add up too. Get escorted by someone who knows which house you’re looking for… anything! I’d be so pissed, but I’d break back in and send some massive bills to the bank. There would be some massive pain and suffering charges too!

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4 J. Money July 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

I know, right? You’d think the house number would be the first main thing you’d check, but I guess that’s just too much for some people.. Everyone’s in a rush these days,…

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5 Brian July 26, 2013 at 8:02 am

Your safe isn’t bolted down? I guess I don’t see the point in owning a safe if it isn’t bolted to a large slab of concrete since a couple strong men can take it. Mine is bolted to a corner in the basement (corners are the coolest place in a house in case of fire). The concrete should fail before the bolts do, so I’m not too worried about someone making off with it.

Personally I would mainly miss some of the furniture we have. Some of it we are really just holding for people but a lot of it is well over 150 years old at this point and it would be a shame for it to just be taken away for no reason.

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6 J. Money July 26, 2013 at 8:57 am

Yeah, I should probably bolt it down or transfer it to the bank (even though that would be pretty annoying to have to visit anytime you need something out of it), but just haven’t gotten to it yet. And actually now that we’re back to renting, not sure if I could get away with that really? Unless I left it when we left? I guess I’m just hoping it’s too heavy for someone to come in and haul away – and nothing value-wise is really in it, not that the robbers would know, haha…

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7 Michelle July 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

I heard about this and it’s just so crazy! It seems like stories like this have been in the news a lot. And for some reason the companies never see it as their fault.

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8 J. Money July 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

I know! That’s the worst part about the whole thing really – that they don’t even work hard to resolve the situation! Or have some decent compassion at least. Now granted we usually don’t hear the other side of the story (though it would take a lot to sway the tables here), but still – that kinda mistake can’t just be swept under the rug. And especially once it hits the media.

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9 Jordann @ My Alternate Life July 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

Wow that is insane! I would be pretty pissed if something like this happened to me!
If I had to leave my house at a moment’s notice, the only things I would take would be my pets, my file folder with all of my important financial documents, tax returns, passports etc, and my “Memories” bag which is a grocery bag sized reusable bag that contains everything I’ve ever wanted to keep in my life.

Everything else is backed up to the cloud, all 7000 of my photos, my key files on my computer, and anything else electronic that I care to keep.

Everything else is replaceable.

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10 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

Ooooh you have a memory bag?? Such a great idea!! Maybe I can condense all my stuff (like my notes) and just keep the most important ones in a similar bag/box too – I kinda like that.

You’re a smartie :)

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11 Debt Blag July 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

That’s a crazy story!

I was thinking to suggest putting some stuff in a bank deposit box, but if that same bank were taking your house, they might be OK taking the box too :)

Oh, but have you considered digitizing your old photos? It’s annoying, but doesn’t take as long as you’d expect. My parents got a computer savvy nephew to do it for a few bucks :)

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12 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hah! I actually did start thinking about it as I was typing out this post :) Prob the best way to go for sure – and I DEF like the idea of paying someone else to do it! Hadn’t considered that before – thx.

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13 No Waste July 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…what a violation of her space!

Echoing: back-up drive (digital photos), framed photos of the babies.

Very hard or impossible to replace AND special. Everything else can be replaced in due time.

Oh yeah, I guess we should take the babies too.

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14 jp July 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

We came close to something like this happening. We bought a foreclosure. Second week we moved in there was a notice on the door when we got back from the grocery store stating that we, along with all of our belongings would be forcefully removed on XX date by such and such bank due to foreclosure. It had the previous owners names on it – however how would they know it was our stuff vs. theirs? We both had to work that day, we had just moved to the state that week, didn’t know anyone. We were most worried about our dog (like EJ above). Luckily, our neighbors took our dog for the day and kept an eye out on the place. We called our lawyer, the bank, the sherrifs office, anyone we could think of.

Apparently the previous owners were foreclosed on by BOTH the bank and the HOA. We purchased the house from the bank, and no one bothered to cancel the HOA foreclosure. We put a notice on the front door telling whoever shows up that we purchased the house on XX date from XX bank, here’s who to contact, there is a copy of the deed on the entry table if you do decide to break in (which we will come after you for), etc. luckily nothing came of it. Our lawyers and real estate agent were able to get a hold of some one.

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15 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

Yikes!!! My stomach would hurt BAD those days while at work all day long, ugh… Really glad there was a positive ending to your story there and I didn’t have to Google it to watch the story unfold online ;)

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16 Jessica July 26, 2013 at 11:47 am

With all the fires in Colorado the last few years, I put alot of thought into what I would or wouldnt save. I have a plan for what I would take if I had 5 minutes or if I had an hour. With that plan in mind, I put all our photos in the cloud. Additionally, my parents have disk copies of our photos and we have some of theirs. Then I got a safety deposit box for the wills,poa’s, other neccesary documents, and the jewelry that I never wear.
The five minute plan is to grab my dogs, the spare bag of food we keep in the garage, and harnesses/leashes for them all (I have 4 so this would take time, laptops and a change of clothes. The one hour plan is to take the 5 minute stuff, some antiques from our grandparents, the photo albums, more clothes, toiletry bags(always packed since my husband travels for a living and I just keep one prepped),and pack some human food.

One thing to keep in mind on a safe is that most on the market are fire resistant and not truly fire safe. Once the safe gets too hot, your documents will turn to ash. It takes a lot of heat to make that happen but it was my deciding factor in moving things out of the house.

I realized while making the list, there isn’t much I wouldn’t just walk away from. Don’t get me wrong, there would be some sadness but if my husband and my dogs are safe, I’ll be ok.

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17 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

Amen sister! And you’re more prepared than 99% of the rest of us – way to put some thought into it :)

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18 Leona@allmydollarsandcents.com July 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

What in the world???

That’s beyond crazy!!!

I feel bad for her–I hope the bank fixes that mess soon so she can get back to her normal life.

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19 Jon July 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

That’s why you should have guns… :) The bank guys would be meet in a not friendly manner if I found them in my home. But if you’re away on vacation?!?! lame! Get a big mean dog! :)

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20 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

I’m pretty sure if you draw guns on the repo folks you’d have a much larger problem on your hands ;)

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21 Aimee July 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I thought of that when I heard this too! Not to make this political, but I’m not a huge fan of guns but this is a time when just the sight of one could help you protect your home. There’s a time and place for a shot gun, and this would be a good time and place. I wonder if repo guys pack heat though.

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22 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Oh man, I’m SURE they do. Which is why I’d be too scared to wave anything around in a situation like that. Would rather have my stuff stolen than my life.

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23 Tara July 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I hope that lady sues! I would be livid if that happened to me.

Also, I have no idea how I would be able to pick what to take… that’s a difficult task.

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24 Tara July 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm

also, I just called my brother who happens to be a lawyer about this and he said she definitely has a case worth taking to court. He said that he laughed at this case because all the lady was asking for was $18,000. Now she probably will get 10-20 times that in court. The bank is totally screwed.

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25 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

I bet!!! $18k is nothing for the amount it COULD have been. I’d do whatever it takes to resolve a situation like that just to shut down the media mess!

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26 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen July 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Crazy story! That’s a pretty big thing to mess up and for the bank to not cooperate with such a big mistake. They are probably already getting a lot of bad publicity from it and are now getting even more.

Hmmm it’s easier to say what I wouldn’t let go of.
My laptop, wedding engagement rings, my husband…and all my important documents. There’s lots of stuff I would miss for sure…

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27 Joshua Rodriguez July 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

That’s a horrible situation! If someone ever came into my house and started stealing from me, ‘stuff’ would definitely be hitting the fan. I hope she finds help and gets all of her belongings back!

If I somehow got stuck in a situation like that, I would have to grab my important papers, laptop, and my animals.

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28 Financial Black Sheep July 26, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I don’t think I would be too sad. Maybe a little, but I have only had a couple of suitcases of things and my dog for about 3 months now. I can ways buynew things and create new memories :)

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29 Crystal July 27, 2013 at 1:06 am

HOLY CRAP! I would be beyond pissed! I’m pissed on her behalf!!!

My dogs came to mind first if I was just out for a few hours when they broke in. If it was while on vacation, my dogs and work laptop wouldn’t be at my house, and I would most miss the irreplaceable gifts – mostly jewelry and mementos…AND I WOULD SUE LIKE NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN SUED BEFORE. I would do whatever it takes to insure that the thief bank pretty much exchanged my property for enough money for me to retire on…asswipes.

Honestly…this is worse than regular thieves…they usually only break stuff while they steal stuff worth something. That would leave most of my mementos safe and sound since they aren’t really breakable or worth much on the open market. The bank took it all! That’s freaking insane!!!

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30 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

Asswipes indeed – a word, btw, I haven’t heard in like 20 years, haha…. good one.

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31 Laurie @thefrugalfarmer July 27, 2013 at 8:56 am

So, the repo people: it didn’t occur to them to check the numbers on the door?? Common sense here, people!

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32 Tahnya Kristina July 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

OH WOW I would be so upset if I lost all my stuff…for no reason and espcially if it wasn’t returned. I would miss my clothes for sure, I recently bought some really cute pieces. An entire wardrobe takes a long time to assemble, and it’s a lot of money. I would also miss my art, we only have a few pieces but I really love them.

PS Jay I have my notebooks from high school too, the happiest days of my life!

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33 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

We can exchange them one day and read them over wine? ;)

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34 Cassi July 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm

That is horrible! I’d be so angry if that occurred. If I were her, I would have hired a lawyer and sued that bank for everything I had lost, ESPECIALLY if they weren’t being professional. How can they give her sarcastic remarks when they stole all her items! I’d be apologizing to her daily if I was the bank.

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35 J. Money July 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

That’s because you have a soul :)

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36 Aimee July 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Ok so I’ve been thinking about this all weekend. First, I loved Up In The Air! It’s not every day that ol’ Georgie gets his heart handed to him. What I would take out of my apartment if my landlords were foreclosing or evicting me (that would NEVER happen) and I had 10 minutes is:

All of my camping,hiking and rock climbing gear – that stuff is super expensive to replace.
Cedar hope chest – There’s no hope in it, but my mom gave it to me for my 18th and it’s a family tradition.
File box of financials/documents – No explanation needed
Laptop – No explanation needed
Fake tree – I consider this a prized possession of mine. I got it for free and then spent hours and hours modifying it. It’s senseless really. I’d leave it behind if I had to, but it would kill me.
Christmas Tree topper – I spent hours making him (Sebastian). It’s a hiker made from clay that I then baked in the oven. I sewed clothes on him and glued hair to his head then made him a backpack. Another senseless item that I’m attached to.
Undergarments – I have a hard time finding ones that fit right and are comfortable. A little awkward, but hey.
If I had a minute left I’d snag my jewelry (nothing valuable), toiletries, and some clothes… and a snack.

If I had a full hour and a truck I could probably move just about everything.

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37 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Haha… nice. I’m a big fan of fake trees myself, actually :) But as hard as it was, I had to give up two of them on our last move which my wife was very proud of me for… I thought I’d miss them a lot, but this is actually the first time I’ve thought about them in two months! Pretty interesting…

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38 Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa July 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I’m sure the people who had their stuff stolen by the bank will have no problem finding a lawyer willing to take there case. It is absolutely ridiculous that happened. I can’t even begin to imagine how angry I would be with them if they did that to me and didn’t immediately make it right.

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