you want to buy a house cheap, and you look to the foreclosure market.
Considering the over-abundance of these properties and just how little
many of them are going for, it's tempting to jump on the bandwagon
and buy up. And it may pay off as a long-term investment. But, like
any other major purchase, you should know as much as you can
about a property before you buy it, which is why home inspections,
performed by certified InterNACHI inspectors, are necessary.
Unfortunately, many real estate agents, who don't like bargaining
with banks, are advising clients that home inspections are of no value
as a bargaining tool, since banks don't negotiate on "as is" properties.
As an added disincentive, banks selling properties "as is" have no
legal responsibility for any lurking defects. While the agent's advice
to forgo an inspection as a means to negotiate on the price may be
logical, it is startlingly counter-intuitive, and possibly even negligent.
Would you buy a car without knowing whether it has a transmission?
The same premise holds true for a house, regardless of whether you
intend to live in it, or fix it and flip it. The Realtor may be trying
to salvage a deal that could possibly be scrapped if an inspector
uncovers damage that the bank is unwilling to pay for, and you, as
the buyer, have to realize that the agent's advice is not in your
best interest. In this case, they're putting you at risk in order
to ensure they get their commission.
Any Realtor advising against an inspection on a foreclosure (or neglecting
to recommend that one be performed) is ignoring the likelihood that,
long before the previous owners stopped making mortgage payments,
they deferred required maintenance tasks. Moisture intrusion leading
to leaks and mold are just a few of the major problems commonly found
by inspectors in foreclosed properties. Tales abound of bizarre discoveries
in abandoned properties, from wild boars to colossal bees nests. Former
owners may loot their own properties, taking with them anything they
can pry up or unscrew, and leave behind trash and junk that you have
to pay for to have removed.
There are also stories of foreclosed properties that have been intentionally
vandalized by their former owners in acts of retaliation against their
banks. In one infamous case in early 2010, an Ohioan bulldozed his
$250,000 home after the IRS placed liens on his carpet store, and
then threatened to take his house. The damage done by the owner was
apparent, but there are probably less extreme situations where the
damage isn't as obvious, making a home inspection of utmost priority.
You should always get a home inspection before buying a property,
especially when you're buying a bank-owned foreclosure. In such cases,
it may be impossible to find out how well the home was cared for,
or whether major damage was done right before the past owners left
the property. Ask the bank how much time you have after your initial
offer to have an inspection performed, and schedule one immediately.
If it goes well, you'll enter into the deal with peace of mind and
a better idea of what repairs you'll have to deal with. That alone
is worth the price of an inspection. If the inspection reveals a costly
disaster, you can back out of the deal and save tens or even hundreds
of thousands of dollars.
Good home inspectors can find defects with the house
and help you make an informed decision. Even if the property is sold
"as-is" you have the right to know if the forclosure you
are buying is a good deal or a money pit.
Remember: A few hundred dollars for foresight is
worth alot more than thousands
of dollars after
Prior to the inspection verify that the water, gas and electric are
turned on and that the residence has been de-winterized if necessary.
I cannot inspect the integrity of the plumbing system, check the heating
system to ensure it is in working order or inspect the electrical
system to make sure everything is in working order, if the utilities
are turned off.
InterNACHI ® Certified Home Inspector
Inspections in: Chicago,
Orland Park, Tinley Park, Orland Hills, Palos Heights, Palos Hills,
Palos Park, Mokena, New Lenox, Lockport, Frankfort, Lemont, Homer
Glen, Lombard, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Crest Hill, Oak Lawn, Evergreen
Pk, Oak Forest, Worth, Alsip, Plainfield, Hinsdale, Minooka, Crestwood,
Hickory Hills, Chicago Ridge, Matteson, Homewood, Flossmoor, Midlothian,
Bridgeview, Burbank, Richton Pk, Willowbrook, Willow Springs, Sauk
Village, Countryside, Olympia Fields, Steger, Elwood, Joliet, Downers
Grove, Naperville, Lisle, Burr Ridge, Hillside, Shorewood, Western
Springs, Aurora, Glen Ellyn, Woodridge, Westmont, Clarendon Hills,
Minooka, Manhattan, West Chicago to
name a few.