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Looking At Foreclosures? Condition Clues Every Buyer Should Learn To Recognize

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With one of the tightest housing markets in history continuing to make it more difficult to find available homes, creative buyers are once again shifting their focus to foreclosures and distressed properties. While this type of listing can offer a welcome option for finding a home when inventories are tight, there can be serious condition issues that buyers need to know about before moving ahead with an offer on a foreclosed or distressed home. If you are currently looking at foreclosed homes for sale, using the following tips to help you recognize potentially serious repair issues can help you weed out poor candidates and focus your attention on the best listings. 

Signs of water damage

Whether the water damage is the result of a leaking roof, plumbing disaster, foundation issue, flood water infiltration, or some other moisture-related issue, this type of problem is often one of the most difficult and costly to cure during renovations. In addition to the possibility of big-ticket repairs like replacing the roof or having to have the plumbing replaced, buyers faced with water damage often may have to deal with a serious mold problem in the home. If this is the case in a foreclosure that a buyer is considering, it is necessary to understand that it may be necessary to also put the home through a home mold remediation process, followed by replacing the insulation, drywall, and surface finishes in the affected areas. 

When viewing homes, it is important to look for water damage clues, including stains on the ceilings, walls, and foundation walls, soft spots in flooring, drip marks or discoloration in the attic, signs of mold, and wood deterioration. 

Signs of foundation issues

Foundation damage is another serious issue that buyers should learn to recognize during each showing. Erosion, water damage, and settlement are three of the most common reasons that foundations fail, all of which can be prohibitively expensive to repair. Luckily, foundation problems can be easily detected by watching for the following signs when viewing homes: 

  • excessive cracking in basement floors and foundation walls
  • cracks in exterior masonry walls, especially at stress points such as corners and over door and window frames
  • doors and windows that appear to be crooked in their frames or those that no longer open and close correctly

It is important to remember that foreclosures may not have seller disclosure documentation available, making it more important than ever for prospective buyers to be able to recognize serious condition issues like the ones noted above. 

To learn more about purchasing a foreclosure home, prospective buyers should begin by partnering with a trusted, experienced real estate professional. These experts will be able to help buyers find homes for sale and move more carefully through the entire buying process and end up with the best possible home for their needs and budget.


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