Articles - Written by on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:36 - 0 Comments

Homes in Foreclosure Should be Closely Inspected before Purchasing

There are incredible deals available for people either looking for investment property or to buy their first home. In the City of Milwaukee, more than 400 homes are currently in foreclosure and selling as much 30 to 50 percent below market value.

But, buyers beware. Some of these properties may have been vacant for quite some time. The previous owner may have left on bad terms and vandalized the property even though the damage is not visible. What can’t be seen, can turn a person’s dream home into a money pit, particularly when it comes to plumbing.

Tim Irvine, a service manager at Zien Mechanical, says the first thing he would do when shopping a foreclosed home is to make sure the main drain is open. Take a garden hose and run water in the main drain for at least 15 minutes to make sure the drain is clear and there are no broken pipes outside.

In the basement, inspect the ceiling and every joist for water stains. A water stain always tells the truth and is a telltale sign of a water problem. Staining or mold on basement walls or the legs of any furniture are also clues to previous water damage. Examine every corner of the basement and where the wall meets the floor for any staining. If anything is up on blocks or bricks, it’s probably because there has been water in the basement. Irvine also says if the basement floor has been freshly painted, proceed with caution.

Finally, check every bathroom, kitchen and basement fixture, and look under the sinks for mushy wood, moisture or mold stains.

Water seepage and clogged drains are the biggest plumbing concerns when considering the purchase of an older or foreclosed home. Do not proceed with any purchase agreement without knowing the cause of the problem. Irvine recommends a video inspection of the main drain. Most licensed plumbers either own or have access to a video camera. The video inspection costs around $400, but could protect the homeowner against a $5,000 problem.
Buyers beware of hidden problems with plumbing.

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