Sharpies, as in the writing utensils with permanent ink, are now being used in what's called "Sharpie Parties." They sound like they might be fun, but they're a destructive trend hitting foreclosed homes across America. NBC4's Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2012.
An invitation online turned into a vandalism party in Central California where partygoers were handed Sharpie's to trash the foreclosed home inside.
At least six of these so-called Sharpie Parties were reported in Merced county in recent months. A rash of house trashing fueled by social media.
Lawrence Walsh assesses foreclosures in LA County. Although he hasn't seen any Sharpie Parties here, he's seen a few nightmares when walking into a foreclosed home.
"A lot of times they've taken all the built in appliances, hot water heaters, light fixtures, things of that nature," according to Walsh. "They kicked holes in walls and doors."
One realtor in Huntington Beach found cement and chemicals poured down the drain of one home. Piles of trash and clothes were also left behind, and mold was growing everywhere.
Walsh believes homeowners often blame banks for their foreclosure problem, and take out their anger on the home.
But it's not always banks that have to pay.
"There are several ways banks can add that additional cost onto these people after they've left, or they can put liens or judgements against them," according to Walsh.
Realtors also say they've seen homeowners working out deals with contractors, where contractors pay the homeowner to take valuables from inside the home before the family moves out.