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Home Inspection Issues with Foreclosures

July 31st, 2010 · No Comments

There are some special considerations when buying a foreclosure that might not be a consideration when purchasing a normal house. The first of these considerations is to make sure that the water and power are turned on. Usually these houses are vacant and the bank has had them locked up and winterized. While this protects the house from a pipe rupture going unchecked or an AC running 24-7 it does not make a thorough home inspection possible. The agent or representative from the bank is going to have to do this as home inspectors can’t do this because their insurance will not cover this.

Since the electricity has been off for a long time no air has been ventilating. This is a problem because with no air circulating moisture has a hard time escaping. When moisture gets trapped in a house it will cause mold and mildew. This mold and mildew gets worse over time. You really need to air circulating again. If any mold area is more than ten square feet it needs to be remediated professionally according to the EPA. If it is less the ten square feet you can clean it yourself with a water and bleach solution.

Since the water has been off for some time a lot of the gaskets and washers actually dry out. When you turn the water back on it leaks where these gaskets were. In my experience as a home inspector here in Charlotte NC I have found more plumbing leaks in houses that have had the water turned off and then turned back on than any other type of house. When I inspect a foreclosure I fully expect to find some plumbing leaks. Here is a little test anyone can do to see if they have leaks in their pipes. Make sure everything is off and go out to your meter. If it is moving at all you have a supply line leak somewhere.

When we perform regular home inspection for a normal non-foreclosure house most of the items that are found are usually fixed prior to closing. The items are fixed before the buyer moves in at the sellers expense. Foreclosure houses are sold “as-is” and then the buyer has to fix the issues one his/her own. Here is the problem. Sometimes these problems cost more than you or the contractor estimated and you have to eat the extra costs. You also can’t blame the home inspector as long as he pointed it out in the first place. The other thing to watch for is unscrupulous contractors who give you a low price to get the job and then once they have your house opened up they tell you it is going to be more money. When hiring a contractor make sure you get plenty of references and tell them to give you worst case scenarios for expenses.

I hope these tips have helped you with the home inspection process of buying a foreclosure. If you want more information or have any questions please go to Home Inspection Carolina or Ask the Charlotte Inspector.

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Tags: Future Trends · Home Buying · Uncategorized

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