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Home Inspector Will Take the Stress Out of Distressed Sales

October 22nd, 2009

An experienced home inspector will be able to help you ensure that the house you are buying in a distressed sale, such as a foreclosure, auction or short sale, is worth the money you are spending.

Typically, distressed properties have defects and damages, but you would want to ensure that these issues are not major and do not entail a lot of money and time to repair.

Here are some tips and information from real estate professionals and home buyers that could help you work with a house inspector.

Sandy Coyer of North Carolina, who has been acquiring foreclosures for clients since 2000, advises homebuyers planning to buy a home in an auction to hire a house inspector to examine the property before the auction. Homes sold in auctions are sold as is, but auctioneers allow serious home buyers to conduct a scheduled inspection on a property before the auction.

Coyer said that paying between $300 to $500 for a house inspection is not costly compared to peace of mind.

Additionally, she advises buyers to check with the Better Business Bureau if the firm holding the auction is reputable.
J. Scott Steinhorn of Georgia also advises buyers to always hire an experienced home inspector when buying a foreclosure. He said that in his years of selling foreclosures, he has seen a lot of defects that may not be immediately visible, so a professional home inspection is needed.

Steinhorn also explained that buyers should not rely on the disclosure form when looking at defects. In many states, lenders are not even required to provide disclosure statements and if they are, oftentimes, they are not able to describe accurately the condition of the house.

Short sellers meanwhile do not disclose the real level of maintenance they did on the furnace, air conditioner, hot-water heater or the roof. Steinhorn says that a house aged 15 to 30 years typically needs costly maintenance. He also advises buyers to check if the house is located in a flood-prone area.

Another realtor, Brendon DeSimone of California, advises home buyers to ask the seller if the renovations on the home were all approved by city regulators.

Lastly, Steinhorn advises buyers to ask repair estimates when the home inspector finds a problem and then make online research later about renovation costs. Buyers are further advised to make calculations to get the final purchase and repair costs so they can decide wisely whether to pursue their home purchase offer.

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