When I break open a lock and enter a home, a police officer always accompanies me. This has nothing to do making the break-in or lockout more legitimate; it's so the officer can search the place for bodies (and illegal activity, but mostly bodies). That's how common suicides are in foreclosed homes. An officer I work with once came upon the body of the previous owner hanging in front of him right after he opened the front door. That's the most common place people do it, because they want you to see their body and feel bad that you, the bank, have forced them into this position.
"PTSD is covered under our health plan, right?"
This couple did a murder-suicide and were found when the bank came with eviction papers. This man killed himself, and the real estate broker found the body four years later. This woman, too. This one shot herself (after locking her cats in the bathroom). This murder-suicide ended with the man trying to burn the house down. This one, too. One study links foreclosures to the rising suicide rate between 2005 and 2010 (even beyond all the other economic trouble during that time).
At least our search makes sure that the body's out before the house is sold. Sometimes, a house gets auctioned off to other investors first and never gets into the bank's hands, so we never get a chance at it. So you get the occasional odd case like this guy, who bought a foreclosed home and found the previous owner's dead body stretched out in the bedroom. It was so decayed that he couldn't tell if it had been a man or a woman.
"Well, the TV is paused on Bowie's bulge in Labyrinth."
"No, that's still inconclusive. Dammit!"
People look at their home as their only material asset, and foreclosures stay on your credit report for seven years. That's a long time to have people look at you sideways when you apply for credit or a rental. And the logistics are daunting. Where do I go? Will anyone lease to me? What do I do with all my stuff? Where do I come up with a security deposit and the first and last months' rent when I can't even pay my mortgage? People get so overwhelmed that they simply can't handle it.
Lots of others in the same position do manage to move on with their lives, so to be clear, getting foreclosed on is not a good reason to kill yourself. But whether people shoot themselves in their kitchen, cry when they come home to a newly-locked door, or accept a payment from the bank and make the best of the situation, foreclosure's a personal tragedy. These are people's homes. People picked this place out, moved in, fixed it up, lived in it, learned in it. They did the best they could. And it wasn't enough.
"And that's the biggest lesson you can learn in life, kid. Come on, let's go get you cut from the baseball team."
Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for stuff cut from articles and other things no one should see.
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