DO NOT BUY A FORECLOSURE “SIGHT UNSEEN”! Take the time to personally visit the property to ensure its condition. Pictures and public remarks on a home can be misleading.
DO A 360: That’s right, look at the neighborhood. Educate yourself on what other homes on that street are doing in sales. You may or may not be able to re-coup costs of the home depending on how distressed the entire neighborhood is. Study the neighborhood at different times of the day. Work with an experienced agent who can help you calculate the cost vs risk of buying a foreclosure.
WHATS THAT SMELL? If you have ever visited an old has that has not been lived in, you know what that smell is. But what about other longer vacancy “smells” that are looming? The longer the vacancy the more damage there is, in most cases. Here are just a few items that could be damaged in the home that may be costly to repair or an odor that is hard to remove: The plumbing seals dry out, sewer gases back up, and bugs that are in the sewer get a chance to get into the house. That's true for the sinks, toilets, and washer drains.
DON’T FLUSH THAT TOILET: In most cases, banks will have the property “Winterized” meaning the pipes have been flushed out and prepared for the water to be turned off. If for some reason the property was not winterized, don't turn on any of the utilities until you know the condition of the pipes. If the pipes cracked during a cold spell, water will leak into the walls, and mold could take hold when you turn the water back on.
WHAT THE ROOTS!: If a home has been abandoned or even just neglected by the bank due to its inactivity that can lead to untrimmed trees, vines and bushes contributing to the deterioration of the house. Vines crawl into the windows, and tree seedlings send roots down into the foundation. It doesn’t take much for roots to damage the foundation or even destroy a paver or cement patio and or porch.
HAMMER TIME: Bring your contractor for a home inspection. Whether you are self-financing, getting a mortgage or even borrowing from an investor, they want to know what the stakes are in that investment. It’s worth the cost! Inspectors charge $300 to $500 for an average size home.