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PA state troopers called - vacation home trashed [merged]

VivianLynne

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My 1975 place was party central to teenagers and neighbors called after the fact. Trooper said they tracked down 16yo girl who claimed she was there but did not do anything as her gf so and so will tell you.

The trooper told me that the damage is essentive - busted out windows, trashed furniture, holes in walls, smashed dishes and chairs....and trash everywheres. Girl was tracked down via personal item she left in house. Crime lab is processing evidence. Last breakin 10+ years ago was neighbor kid who left fingerprints behind and was arrested 3 years later when his prints on another arrest fingered him.

Question: Can I take the insurance money and sell the house ASIS? Realtors last spring valued house at 40K as 900 sq ft 2bdr 1bath on wooded acre. House was in good condition but dated and small. Area is now year round family living verses vacation home.
 

fishingguy

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read your policy or call your agent

Insurance on vacation property isn't necessarily standardized in some places, especially for vacation or 2nd homes. State/local requirements, how the property is valued and classified, riders and amendments and other factors can come into play. In addition, if there is no loan on the property, that can also affect things.

We had a vacation property badly damaged by storms; roof, siding, etc. The check we got from the insurance company would have been ~20% less if we did not repair and upgrade from the damage. But it was an older property that had a policy written many years earlier. Periodic adjustments in replacement value occurred (upward), and there were also some amendments issued that came into play. (+ and -'s for our situation).

So you'll want to read your policy into what is covered and how it is covered, and will undoubtedly end up speaking with your agent. Don't rule out pressing criminal charges and recouping damages to recoup what the insurance might not pay if you don't do repairs. If the person(s) is(are) a minor then things can get complicated, but can be well worth pursuing. [You insurance company will likely need to be involved in part of this process if you are able to recover damages.]
 

VivianLynne

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Is anyone in the Camelback Ski area? I am 1500 miles away. Trooper was not giving up much detail. ... said he locked the door but a couple of windows were busted out, etc.

PM with phone number. As this is on the web and a police matter, I don't want to give out too much public info.
 

Sea Six

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If you've got busted out windows, you'd better get the house repaired ASAP or Mother Nature will destroy whatever is left of it. You sound like you're not even going there to see the damage. What's the empty lot worth after the house is torn down?
 

Rose Pink

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Question: Can I take the insurance money and sell the house ASIS? Realtors last spring valued house at 40K as 900 sq ft 2bdr 1bath on wooded acre. House was in good condition but dated and small. Area is now year round family living verses vacation home.

Call a realtor who specializes in the area of the property. Some mortgage lenders will require a house to be habitable before writing a loan. It would depend on the value of the land, etc. A realtor who knows the area could better inform you of what to expect. If the land is valuable, you might be able to find a buyer who is willing to demolish and build, for example.

You also have issues of safety and liability. Google "attractive nuisance."

Is there a property management company you could hire? Again, check with a realtor for suggestions and references.
 

ronparise

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If your insurance company pays your claim and if they dont require the repairs to be made, then sure you can sell it as is. I wouldnt worry about fixing it up enough so that your buyer can get a loan. You need to find a cash buyer, or hold paper yourself.. From what you say I think Sea Six is right...what you are selling is a vacant lot. Even if the property was fixed up, if the neighborhood has transitioned to a year round community, your place is functionally obsolete..In my market I would market it as a beautiful wooded lot...free house!
 

VivianLynne

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Been almost 3 weeks now ---

Been up there to see the damage twice and take photographs. It is beyond just a trashed house. I think there might be a wooden DR chair NOT broken or with blue paint splashed on it. Met with a vendor who does "all inclusive" house repair thing. This is a 24x36 ft house, single floor over a crawl space. There are 4 windows - all damaged. (2 visible patio doors and fixed windows - NOT damaged.) All the interior doors are damaged, all the floor surfaces, all the furniture (2 Bassett matching solid wood sets, DR with 6 chairs and china cabinet, LR's 3 piece sectional with sofabed and recliner, 5' full wall Sauder entertainment, 3 TVs, the entire KIT of cabinets, stove, refrigerator, 14 interior bifold or regular wood doors, 50% of the staingrade wood trim, F/P mantel, stormdoor, 30-35% of the wall's sheetrock, 1 piece fiberglass tub, double bowl vanity, 3-4 light fixtures, etc. The insurance person thinks the beds are okay - except there has NOT been enough light or space to examine them. And the well is NOT working. I have been staying a Wyndham Shawnee on 2/3 night midweek stays. Going up Sunday for 4 nights - got to get a well guy in to figure out what the kids did to that and to pack what is NOT destroyed.

One of my friends who has worked with his stepfather for years on fire restoration, was there for a visit and his bet is $40-45K (this might be a tad low by $10K) for the house on repairs plus the cost of all new furniture.

I have replacement on my insurance except on the initial payout, it is depreciated value paid until I present receipts for the "replaced" items of the same grade.

So, my questions are -
Should I hire someone (and whom) to help handle this claim? What would I be paying for this "service"?

Does PA insurance have mediators or is it a SUE the insurance company type state?

I have asked politely 3 times now for numbers on the house repairs from the insurance adjustor. First, she was working on it; then she wanted a write up from the "all-inclusive" outfit; now this week, it is swamped at work & will try to get it done over the weekend. :wall: Come on, it is all computer generated by measurement; she had to gotten it done by the Mar 8 visit. Is it letter writing time?
 

VivianLynne

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If your insurance company pays your claim and if they dont require the repairs to be made, then sure you can sell it as is. I wouldnt worry about fixing it up enough so that your buyer can get a loan. You need to find a cash buyer, or hold paper yourself.. From what you say I think Sea Six is right...what you are selling is a vacant lot. Even if the property was fixed up, if the neighborhood has transitioned to a year round community, your place is functionally obsolete..In my market I would market it as a beautiful wooded lot...free house!

Insurance adjustor said they will pay for the boardup of the broken windows and the "cleanout" to the dumpster of the trash & cutouts for the sheetrock. So the removal payment for the service would cover all flooring removal, trashed doors, trashed furniture, yard debris, dumpster, etc.

Then they would pay for the depreciated furniture and personal possessions.

Need to ask about "draws" or payment of the repairs to the house.
 

jlr10

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Repairing the house could be a pain, but, as mention, if not repaired you would only get actual cash value, which is going to include depreciation. Then you would have to find a willing buyer who is going to say they are only buying the lot, the house is a teardown project. (even if it isn't.) If you repair and replace everything the house might be worth more than it was before the damage if you try to sell it. It is no longer a small older vacation home in a family area, it is now a newly renovated starter home on a wooded lot, with a bonus half gallon of Vodka.

As for hiring a public adjuster, that is a personal call. Some people will tell you it is the only way to get a fair settlement. Others will say they are no better than ambulance chases and you will also have your payout reduced by their fee (as the insurance company is not going to pay the public adjuster's fees.) If you feel the insurance company is dealing fairly with you then probably not. If you feel otherwise, then you have to decide if what you will receive from the carrier minus the pubic adjuster's fee, is going to be more than what you would get without them.
 

pjrose

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Have the people who trashed the place been identified? Have the police done anything to investigate? At least I'd expect them to get a few fingerprints and see if they're in the database.
 

VivianLynne

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Have the people who trashed the place been identified? Have the police done anything to investigate? At least I'd expect them to get a few fingerprints and see if they're in the database.

This is an on going investigation. There is a license plate with 2 females provided to State Police and a witness to their leaving my house. There has been 1 confession, 1 who lawyered up, 1 being sought. The state police photogragher was there as was the CSI unit. 4-6 months before hits can be expected off the current fingerprint data base; could be years later for additional "hits" as new records are added.

Under 18 years old "children", per insurance adjuster, will have parents forced to pay damages (think liens, wage attachments, savings, retirement funds, bad credit scores, college savings). 18+ will be required to make restitition to me and insurance company as part of the criminal proceedings which will not "go away" via bankruptcy. I too can go after the parents and young adults for my added expenses - travel to/from vacation house, added housing costs, meals away from home, lost wages, etc. If these were children (under 12 yo I recall), the parents Home Owners insurance might cover it, as a child under 12 years lacks the ability to form intent.

The real fun will begin when the parents of the minors realize this was major willful damage/destruction. And they are responsible for their little brats. After all, many parents might consider a HS party as involving a broken window, some beer on a rug, beer cans laying around and a broken lamp. With all the insurance payouts, it may run up to a $100,000 between house, well, furniture and contents like dishes, TVs, plates, drapes, stereo ....
 

pjrose

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Ugh, what a PITA.

At least the authorities are working on it and some of the identities are known.
 

Timeshare Von

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WOW Vivian I'm sorry you're having to go through such a nightmare experience. I really do hope that full monetary restitution comes your way.
 

VivianLynne

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I am pretty good at designing stuff. But it took years on a budget to get the place where the furniture matched and it felt like a home verses a flea market special.

Now, I will have to decide all the important questions again. Color of walls, flooring, furniture theme, kitchen layout, etc. To sofabed or not? Sectional or not? Raised countertop with high stools or not? White or black appliances? Plastic or corelle - remember, I had over 100 pieces of corelle which are now glass shardes. Wood or rugs?

The only thing not really destroyed was the crack stone fireplace with granite hearth - which was always the prettiest thing in the living room.

Got my plastic tubs together and packed into the car. My 4 ft ladder also is in the car. Have to pack whatever is still there - ready to move. I have several days to make up the inventory sheets of missing or broken details; There is still one clock radio there with the time running - hope it tunes into a station for background noise.

Wyndham Shawnee, here I come again - 4 nights this time. It is a good thing that I have some unused Wyndham points still this year. I think I have the Dupee unit with a jetted bathtub and a washer/dryer (as I will wash everything I was wearing after I leave the house).
 

Tia

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I hope the authorities can get the 2 participants to talk and name names, spread out the repair costs among the guilty
 

Passepartout

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Vivian, we are deeply saddened by the violation you must feel by this senseless act. While we can do nothing to help you physically, please accept a great big TUG {{{HUG}}} and a few tears of support.

Cleaning up the mess, saving what can be saved, disposing what will only re-open old wounds after the physical damage is fixed, will all have a toll on you. I hope you have someone you can turn to for support. There are just life's situations that are too big to face alone. If help is offered, take it. Have a paintbrush or a pair of gloves handy to put into the hands of anyone who asks "What can I do?"

Ultimately we hope that police and insurance investigations into responsibility will result in people who can and will step up financially. There will be bills and expenses. What a relief to have somewhere to send them to to be paid and resolved. It's so east to find responsibility, but then it comes down to actually collecting the judgement. Not so easy.

Keep your TUG family in the loop. We care.

Jim
 

cerralee

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You can hire a mediator in PA to negotiate with the insurance companies. I just noticed this thread...otherwise I would have chimed in earlier. I am about 45 minutes to an hour from camelback in the Scranton area.
My friend had a water heater burst while they were away on vacation and the mediator negotiated approximately twice the original amount for final payment.

The vacation home communities in the Poconos have really changed in the past 25 or so years. I worked at one for about eight summers in a row and the people who had houses there were wonderful. Now with all the defaults in mortgages etc., foreclosures abound and the second home communities have really taken hits. Sorry to hear about all the vandalism. I can't imagine having to deal with it from far away. Good luck with your insurance and then hope you can find a reliable contractor to do the work for you.

Lee
 

VivianLynne

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You can hire a mediator in PA to negotiate with the insurance companies. I just noticed this thread...otherwise I would have chimed in earlier. I am about 45 minutes to an hour from camelback in the Scranton area.
My friend had a water heater burst while they were away on vacation and the mediator negotiated approximately twice the original amount for final payment.
.. Sorry to hear about all the vandalism. I can't imagine having to deal with it from far away. Good luck with your insurance and then hope you can find a reliable contractor to do the work for you.

Lee

Thank you. I really would love more info on the mediator. There is just so much damage and the insurance adjuster is just pushing to to use a chain disaster firm who signs a contract with me.. I pay for WHAT the insurance company decides not to pay the big rehab firm. Those idiots had 4 guys show up to look at a 864 sq fr house with 1 clipboard. Then they used the guys can start work tomorrow else with the wind storms tomorrow they might get another job which would delay my repairs.
I did manage to keep a straight face with all that bull crap being thrown at me.

I am up here for 2 more days. Leaving very early Thurs... staying at Wyndham Shawnee ts.
 

VivianLynne

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Yesterday was a long day. The well/plumber people came out and pulled the well pump. It was burned out. New pump installed; water restored; big leak under kitchen sink from where the 1/2 copper pipe had blown away from the copper valve- freeze damage. Remember, my windows had been broken out. Pump ran nonstop until it died. The cabinet bottom is water damaged, etc.

I now have water.:cheer:
 

VivianLynne

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This was the 30 yard dumpster visit of 3.5 days. The house is empty of furniture, rugs, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom fixtures. The 30 yard dumpster is pretty full. Yes, I did have help from a friend who is paying for his daughter's wedding. The insurance company has proposed a cleanout figure and a repair figure - but getting the trash gone was needed.

I now have a blank slate - to plan and rebuild. I only get 180 days from the reporting date of damage.
 

vacationhopeful

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Doing that within 180 days while staying at a timeshare should prove to be interesting - 5 weeks gone of a 26 week time limit via the insurance company.

Happy planning! ;)
 

VivianLynne

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An update:
I have just been trying to sort my new design plan out...

Smaller kitchen with 42" tall cabinets. Tile floors in Bathroom and Kitchen with in floor electric heat. Deep soaking tub (no jets). Tile back splash above kitchen granite countertop. Adding a pocket door coming off living room (with cathedral ceiliing) into hallway to bath & bedrooms. Adding a 2nd window to larger of 2 bdrs (I think). Real wood floor for LR and DR - with maybe in floor electric heat (it has always been a COLD room). LCD TV over fireplace (gets rid of TV hutch) with an accordian style arm to position it. No sofa bed, but recliner end(s) to sofa. King size bed - who cares if it takes up the whole room.

Monday starts another 4 nights at Wyndham Shawnee with my handiman/carpenter & I, as Gal Friday, making new friends at Lowes and Home Depot. Every 3 weeks - as his wife's work schedule dictates this - and he has a Sept 2012 wedding for his daughter. So, I GOT to have this all done by then - he won't need the extra money after the wedding.:ignore:

Tuesday AM will have a visit by the State Police - collected pictures of the Hidden Signatures (under an inch of sheetrock mud) - sort of like Hidden Mickey's at DVC. Should try to see if insurance adjuster will be around.

Goal: Install a new toilet flange. Fix the center support house pillar in crawl space. Get the tile bathroom and tile kitchen floors installed with in floor heating. Frame out pocket door; fix laundry closet plumbing. Finish plumbing for new tub.
 

Passepartout

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Sounds like a great vacation home, but a big investment of time and effort. You go girl!

Jim
 
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