I use several "preferred" home inspectors regularly, because they have shown professionalism, subject knowledge, thoroughness and reliability.
Housemasters is one of those, they send me a regular newsletter with topics of interest. Their latest newsletter talked about the top 5 conditions that inspectors find in foreclosed homes, which I thought would be interesting to share. Here is a summary:
- Mold - many foreclosed homes have the power disconnected or may have developed ongoing leaks that coupled with a boarded up or abandoned home creates the appropriate moisture conditions for mold to grow unabated, especially in the Lowcountry, where humidity levels are high. Black mold can create a serious health problem.
- Defective or leaky pipes, gaskets, valves and/or hoses. These can create mild to extensive water damage problems.
- Theft & Vandalism - from broken windows to removal of appliances, copper wiring, A/C units, fixtures and hardware.
- Unwelcome Guests - an abandoned home is the perfect nest for rodents, insects, racoons and other animals who can damage electrical systems, attic spaces and deposit droppings. an invitation to many unwelcome guests such as insects, rodents, and raccoons. Whether these vermin are present for a short or long period, they can cause damage and create secondary problems such as an unsanitary buildup of droppings, fleas, and/or other health concerns. Overgrown plants next to exterior walls can create easy access points for termites as well.
- Blocked or damaged sewer lines: Deliberately blocked lines may result in overflow damage - an inconvenience that could be costly to repair. In other cases, the normal buildup of waste products in the lines will harden and contribute to flow restriction or blockage. Even minor leakages can cause soil to dry out in the wrong area, which can contribute to pipe movement and damage.
If you are considering the purchase of a foreclosed or lender-owned home that has been vacant for a while, please make sure that you hire a very competent home inspector and that you do not underestimate the cost to repair damages that may be present.