From the latimes.com – an excerpt:
Norris unwittingly bought a house that was the site of a gruesome double murder. No one else bid — a rare occurrence that showed others knew the history — leaving Norris with less cash to bid for other houses. “It’s a very lonely place out there,” Norris said.
That’s only one of many risks in the foreclosure business. People who’ve lost their homes through foreclosure sometimes vent their anger by smashing walls, knocking over water heaters or ripping out toilets. “We’ve literally had people take $20,000 of cabinetry out and feel perfectly justified doing it,” Norris said.
The daily auction ritual begins each morning when banks signal which homes they are likely to dispose of that day. That sets off an early-hours scramble as would-be buyers speed through suburban neighborhoods to investigate the homes.
On a recent day, Norris steered his sport utility vehicle into the driveway of a 3,300-square-foot McMansion on a corner lot in Moreno Valley. The front lawn was brown and the backyard was littered with garbage. But the windows were intact and there was no visible damage — far better than many foreclosures.
Aiming for an all-important look inside, Norris rang the doorbell and delivered the bad news to the teenage boy who answered the door that the home was scheduled to be sold that day. “Do you mind if I poke around a little bit to see what kind of condition it’s in?” Norris asked, angling his body to get a glimpse of the living room.
Then another car sped up and a rival buyer hurried up the driveway. She studied the house for a few seconds and craned her neck over the wooden fence protecting the backyard. “This is a dream compared to a lot of them,” she said in a satisfied tone as she rushed back to her car.
In the end, no one bought the home. The sale was delayed after the owner filed for bankruptcy protection. Norris was philosophical, knowing that there were plenty more foreclosures. “If you miss one,” he said, “oh well, tomorrow’s another pile.”