In the last two episodes of Breaking Bad, we learn that Skyler has lost the house. The bank has to put up a fence to keep kids out and it was soon to be auctioned. Why?

She lost the car wash because it was paid for with the drug money so it was seized along with the cars, but the house was purchased before this all started.

I can't recall the earlier seasons but I don't recall them ever discussing house payments when they were discussing Walt's treatment payments. I'm assuming the house was paid off already?

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    The house wasn't paid off already. Walter mentioned in the first season (to Jesse; when he was calculating how much money he needs) that he has to earn money in order to pay off the remaining hypothecary credit. Also, nobody knows when Walter started making money with drugs. It's not reproducible what exactly was paid from legal money. Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 9:14
  • I'm curious if the home was in repossession/forclosure? There may be contradictory discussion within the show that I missed. Just an angle not discussed yet.
    – user10054
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 17:49
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    Government is going to assume that if they catch you distributing illegal drugs, that EVERYTHING of value you own is paid for with drug proceeds. That assumption allows them to confiscate more, whether plausible or not. Heck, the way the US laws are (not sure if they've gotten better recently), even if you are never charged or convicted, they get to confiscate money and property just saying that they think it might be drug money, and it's nearly impossible to recover. Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 16:29

3 Answers 3


Saul described to Walter how the DEA will ruin his wife's and children's lives and that they will do everything in their power to crush them, unless Walter dies or Skyler confesses everything.

So I guess the DEA just seized the house because they could, with the reasoning "everything they own has been paid for with drug money". To put as much pressure as possible on Walter and Skyler.

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    The law foundation of it is the so called RICO Act (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…), which is also mentioned in many movies and series about the mafia. Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 9:46
  • I forgot about the RICO bit plus with "everything they owned was bought with drug money" and the fact that DEA doesn't know how long Walt has been cooking (only how long the blue product has been around) as @Markus states, it's fair to assume you're correct. Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 18:30
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    In the episode where Walt and Saul spend some time in the basement of the "vacuum-cleaner repair shop" Saul says the DEA will "RICO the house" unless Skyler can strike a bargain. By the way this is the reason for Walt's visit to Skyler in the last episode. He gives Skyler the location of Hank's and Gomez's bodies so she has something to bargain with the DEA.
    – Bob Stein
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 4:38

There is no adequate reason given for the DEA to have seized Walter White's former residence as they had yet to convict him or even try him for committing any criminal activity. Even RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) would require hearings to determine if Walter's home was both his and an asset which they could attach as part of asset forfeiture. They could not have simply moved Skyler from the home as her filing any number of legal writs or even short selling or quit claiming it to a relative could have prevented this.

The narrative of the series needs to give Walter serious incentives to realize how his drug manufacturing and dealing has adversely effected his family. By showing that they have been forced to move from their home less than six months after he fled the jurisdiction is simply a conceit of that narrative. After all, Walter only "confessed" to certain things over the telephone and given his deteriorating health any minimally skilled attorney could have made the case that his mental state was impaired and that he had no idea what he was saying.

The show is also incorrect as the DEA cannot "RICO" anything. Any prosecutorial decisions made at the US federal level come from the US Attorney's office or from the Attorney General.While the DEA could recommend that the US Attorney seize Walt's assets, without formal criminal charges having been filed and without clear evidence that his familial home was involved in the drug business, this would have been a tough road for them to travel. Saul Goodman as a skilled litigator should have known this and should not have made such a glaring legal error.


Do we know for sure that Skyler has lost the house? Certainly she needs to move out of it, because of the notoriety which Walt's exposure has attracted, but, as has been pointed out, she would have a pretty good chance in Court if any attempt was made to seize it. She needs to sell it, to buy another house legitimately, and it makes sense to auction it because it would be hard to predict what it would sell for. And she doesn't want any direct involvement in the process at all, for obvious reasons, so the auction has to be organised through an intermediary.

  • Normally regular home owners don't put their homes up for auction. Short sale maybe. Commented May 30, 2014 at 13:37

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