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Foreclosed and other unoccupied property problems

Many times the banks, utilities and cities shut, lock, or totally disconnect the gas, water and electricity to foreclosed and unoccupied properties.  Without operating utilities, homes become cold and dark. Plumbing pipes can freeze, crack and burst, fixtures, walls, floors and ceilings can crack, wood trim can curl, etc. Many empty and unoccupied homes are therefore winterized so that all water is out of the plumbing so as not to freeze and break the pipes and fixtures. Many times the winterization is incomplete and damage has occurred.  

The current bank foreclosure fiasco even makes conditions worse for buyers. the banks refuse, delay or otherwise inhibit the de-winterization of the plumbing for the buyer and the buyer's inspector to test operate the plumbing to determine the plumbing is in operating condition. Many times, (50% of my inspections one week in January), the de-winterization is delayed hours before the inspection or leaks occurred requiring the immediate shut down of the water supply to prevent further damage, and worse yet a small leak caused extensive damage and mold over several days.

Use wording in your purchase agreement to assure that the utilities are "on" and all systems are fully operational for the inspection.  That means that not only are the utilities "on" at the main valves, but also fully "on" and operational at each and every fixture and appliance throughout the home. Realize that due to insurance and safety concerns, most inspectors may not ignite or make operational equipment that has been shut down. Seller's need to make safe and operational all systems for both you and your inspector'.

If the building is unoccupied and utilizes a septic system for its sewage waste, the septic system cannot be adequately inspected.  Inactive systems will appear operational and system damage cannot normally be detected.  Even a fully failed septic system will appear to be working properly.  Contact the Macomb County Health Department for full details on this problem.  Macomb County requires 60 days of re-use before a  septic system can be inspected.

Currently, banks are being unreasonable to foreclosed property buyers.  Aside from forcing buyers to buy "As Is", some banks are now stipulating that the earnest money deposited with them is not refundable, no matter what an inspection finds.  Some buyers are blindly purchasing properties without inspection and getting burned...

At, we understand these and other foreclosed home problems.  We work with you and perform the inspection when you need it.  Some real estate investors bring us along to perform the inspection on their second visit to the property before making an offer. This allows them to determine if they really want the property.

We always help you get the best information possible, even with shut off utilities.

The theft of copper, brass, bronze and aluminum from homes and other buildings leaves questions as to the condition of the remaining components. Damage may cause the remaining components to need repair or replacement.

We work only for you.

Call Jerry… get the better inspection!!!  248-224.0258 Home Inspections TM