And you thought I was going for the easy metaphor. No, as you can see from the photo at left, I’m talking about actual vultures. These little beauties were roosting on the roof, and in the trees, of a bank-owned home I recently went to preview here in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
A little background…the home itself is very nice, and a great value, in an upscale gated community near the beach. My point isn’t that the home is somehow flawed. I’m just using the vultures as an outward reminder that we all need to do our homework when looking at homes for sale, especially distressed properties. By going the extra mile, you may be able to detect some of the bigger problems that could come with that low, low price.
Some things you want to look for when looking at a distressed property include:
The home inspection should turn up any major flaws, but pay special attention to anything that could be a symptom of larger issues, e.g., mold, slab/foundation problems or roof issues.
Mold and decay
Many distressed properties have been sitting vacant for a while, often without any utilities on. That’s a big problem in Florida. Make sure you do your due diligence on mold, wood destroying organisms (termites) and the HVAC systems.
Look around outside
If the home has a pool, you may need a pool company to inspect it and see if there are any leaks or other surprises waiting beneath that now green or black, murky water. And while you’re out there, check the yard for fire ants and other pests, as well as any telltale signs of problems (stucco cracks/holes, fogged windows, cracked concrete, etc.)
With most distressed sales, there is some money owed to the homeowner’s association. Make sure you understand how much is owed, and who will be responsible for paying the past due fees.
Of course, there are many others to be aware of, as well. Having a qualified home inspector is important. And it helps to have a REALTOR® who has experience with distressed properties. The more short sales and foreclosures they’ve been involved with, the more stories they’ll have, and you can benefit from that experience.
Have more questions about short sales or foreclosures? Email me or hit me up in the comments.