Buying a foreclosed home is a great way to get an excellent deal. The downside is that you may be buying more than you bargained for if the home has been sitting vacant for a long period of time. In most states, foreclosed homes are sold as is with no warranty. This means that you get what you see and will be responsible for any and all repairs that are needed. Following are some tips for those who would like to purchase a foreclosed home.
If the home has been sitting empty, especially through a winter, the odds are that the utilities have been turned off and the home has been winterized. This means that the water is off, the traps have been filled with antifreeze, and the water lines may have been fully drained or pressurized with air so that the pipes do not freeze and burst. Generally, it would be best to hire a professional to dewinterize the home. When homes have been winterized and sit vacant for a long time, water seals can dry out or rot and will need to be replaced; the hot water tank will need to be filled with water before turning it on; flex lines may need to be reattached; and the traps will need to be cleaned out.
If the power has been off for a long time, the electric company may require that you have a licensed electrician inspect the home’s electrical system to ensure that it is safe to turn the power on. That requirement varies depending on municipality rules. In addition, if you are not from the area, you may be required to pay a fee to the electric company.
In addition to electrical issues, you will need to inspect the duct work if the home has a forced-air system and remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated and install clean filters. If the system has a gas furnace, the utility company may not light the pilot until the maintenance has been completed.
You may find that the home has broken pipes or that it leaks once the water is turned on. In the worst case scenario, a leak was present and never repaired resulting in rotted or moldy flooring and drywall. Replacing the flooring and the walls or controlling the mold problem can end up costing a lot of money, depending on the amount of damage that has occurred.
If furnaces have been subjected to humidity for a long period of time, the exchangers can corrode and will need to be replaced. Depending on the system that is installed in the home, this could end up costing several thousand dollars.
Home inspections generally cost several hundred dollars, but are well worth the cost. An inspection will reveal problems with the home in areas including the roof, foundation, electrical, heating, plumbing and water leakage. Once an inspection has been completed, you will have a good idea of the issues with the home and what will need to be done to repair the problems. The report will give you the opportunity to decide whether you want to move forward with the purchase or look for a different foreclosure.
It should be noted that home inspections are not a requirement for the sale of a property in any state. As a general rule, most real estate agents do suggest that potential buyers have one completed before purchase, however, it is ultimately up to the buyer.
When homeowners become aware that they will be losing their home, it is not unusual for them to give up on maintaining the home. This means that regular maintenance will most likely be needed, including clearing gutters and roofing of debris, cutting back overgrown vegetation and thoroughly cleaning the home both inside and out. You should also be on the look out for cobbled repairs where the owner did not want to spend money to have it done correctly. For example, using duct tape to repair a leaky pipe.
If you are in the market to purchase a foreclosed home, you should hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent to assist you with the process. He or she will know what problems to look for with a foreclosed home and can refer you to a reputable home inspector. To find an agent in your area, simply conduct a search on GayRealEstate.com.