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A word about Forclosures

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Forclosed, bank owned, REO, corporate owned, and in some cases, short sale or HUD... These are all words for a situation when you're buying a house directly from a lender.  Foreclosures have been around for a long time, however, they have become very common in the last few years.  The number of homes on the market which are for sale by a lender has exploded since roughly 2005.  There are some important things to keep in mind when you're looking at a foreclosed property.  From the home inspection perspective, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure that all of the utilities at the home are turned on for your inspection.  What this means, generally, is that the home should be de-winterized. (In our humble opinion, the seller should pay for this.)  

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When a house is vacant, and especially if it is unheated and allowed to freeze, the damage can be extensive and severe. "Winterizing" is intended to prevent this damage, but the term can mean somewhat different things, and it can be done well, or poorly.  Even when done well, there is still sometimes damage or problems involved with getting everything up and running again.  Some lenders (especially HUD) will not de-winterize a house, or will make the buyer pay for the dewinterization.  If the house is winterized, the home inspector will not be able to fully evaluate the house.  It is likely that there will be damage or problems that are not discovered until the utilities are turned back on.   


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