An ounce of prevention


By Kathy Henne

Contributing columnist

If you’re planning to go bargain hunting, you are likely to come face to face with a special challenge: the long-vacant home. Many of these properties have been foreclosed, and now rest in the hands of the bank. If the previous owners are long gone, it is hard to know how long the properties have been vacant. Most home owners who are faced with loosing their home do not call the bank and tell them that they are leaving — they just pick up and move. It takes the bank awhile to figure out they are gone. If the home owners abandon the home in the winter and it is not winterized properly, there is always the chance of frozen and then broken pipes.

While some of the “distressed properties” are still in fair condition, how can you find out about possible defects in the home when the previous owners are not available to disclose such facts? Since the banks who now own the property and the agents listing these properties do not know any details about the previous owners, you may ask to have the property inspected. The banks may or may not allow you to inspect the property.

When you find an attractive property at a low price, you may be able to hire an inspector to take a look. You will pay several hundred dollars to hire the inspector, but his opinion may give you an idea of the condition before you make the offer. Many lenders will not allow you to have the utilities turned on at the property for the inspection, so you may still have a few surprises when you take possession of the properties.

If purchasing a property that may have issues makes you uncomfortable, you’re better off passing on foreclosed or bank owned homes. You’re best bet is to purchase a property that someone is living in, have your inspections and get a home warranty. You’ll sleep better!

Contact the Kathy Henne Team RE/MAX by calling 937-778-3961.

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