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Risks When Buying Foreclosed Homes


It can be tempting to buy a foreclosed house because of its low price, but it can be a critical choice too. However, you tend to get what you pay for in life, and getting a home after its gone through a foreclosure is often one of those times. Before springing on the chance at buying a home that has just been foreclosed, check a few things first. Here is a checklist to go through before buying a foreclosed house:

*The house may be dirty or damaged. People tend to leave their houses dirty when foreclosed on, and some even take things to the next level and cause harm to the house. Whether out of spite or anger, they do what they want to harm the house, and if they don’t, someone else might. With a house sitting empty and abandoned, people who know of the house’s emptiness may take advantage of the house and vandalize it or cause other damage to it. Be well aware of the house’s condition when you buy it. If the house isn’t clean, whether from being left unkempt or from being left abandoned for so long, it could take a long time to tidy it up again, and possibly a lot of money too (depending on if weather and the elements have gotten the best of it or not).

*Half-done projects or unwanted renovations. Oftentimes the previous owners will have had to leave a partially finished project when their house had to be foreclosed. This leaves a decision for the next homeowner: to finish or not to finish the project. Either way, it will cost money, and chances are you might not want to keep the renovations they were seeking to make (probably because they were further tailoring their home for their own personal needs). Sometimes previous homeowners will make a basement into a game room or a garage into a spare bonus room, or something of the like. That will be difficult if you were counting on the garage being, well, a garage.

*Maintenance problems. There will likely be a plethora of maintenance issues with a home that went through a foreclosure. Whether ignored or just not kept up on due to financial reasons (or overlooked) by the previous owners, you will probably have to deal with things like leaky faucets or even damaged walls and floors.

*It’s a gamble. When you are going through a house with a homeowner or real estate agent, you know what you are getting into, at least for the most part, because you are being taken around the house and told the problems with the house and things like that. You can inspect things and make sure everything is in working order and tip-top shape before you move in. However, this isn’t possible with a foreclosed home. With a foreclosed home, the bank owns it and they won’t take you around. It’s up to you to go inside, and it most likely won’t be in tip-top shape (or even with electricity for good visibility while inspecting). Even if you could see it clearly, most problems are beyond what the eyes can see anyway. If you are buying a foreclosed home, you are basically going in blind unless you know exactly what was going on with the previous owners and know, from them, what the problems of the home (if any) were.

In short, getting a home that has undergone foreclosure can be tricky. It is tempting to get a nice home for a percentage of what it was bought for originally, but it may not be worth it. However, if you are savvy with homes and maintenance, or if you have information about a specific house that has been foreclosed on, then perhaps getting a home this way is right for you. In most cases, though, it’s a gamble. Furniture and broken glass can be strewn all over the house, while water and mold could be seeping in the showers, and appliances that were once on the walls could be ripped out by the previous owners or someone else who might have broken in in the meantime.

Before you buy a house that was foreclosed, be sure to thoroughly look into the home’s situation and inspect the property (during the day, with others accompanying you, for safety precautions) and decide what would be best for you. Maybe you could get the house for such a good price that some renovation work wouldn’t matter all that much because you’d still be saving a lot of money in the end. Maybe you knew the previous owners and are able to benefit from the low price while also knowing everything there is to know about the home. Whatever your situation is, be sure to thoroughly check the home and explore your options before making a decision. Buying a home that has been through a foreclosure can be very risky.

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