2 years ago it ran like a dream, sure it's been up on blocks ever since, but I'm gonna give you a deal. That odd smell is normal for something that has been empty so long, just open the windows. You can have your mechanic take a look under the hood, we'll even put some gas in to get it started, we drained the tank for safety. Not to worry, I don't think you can be held legally responsible for anything the prior owner may have done to the vehicle that doesn't pass acceptable standards, or anything they left under the seats or stuffed into the cushions. Some animals did get in through a broken window and may have done damage, but as you can see its duct taped up now and good to go. Yes, possibly they might have replaced certain engine parts without any knowledge of car repair, but that stuff happens, did we mention this sale is "AS IS"? No, we have no records to offer you of upkeep, care, or major past problems, but take a look at that price! Just sign each of these 30 pages saying I am not responsible for anything and the keys are yours.
Would you be thrilled to be the buyer? Yet that is what we see happening with foreclosures, they cost less, so they are snatched up, leaving so many "seller" owned homes behind. Sitting on the market are homes that are being cared for, maintained, with owners that have records of what had been done to the home, any problems and their solutions. "Real" Sellers are often happy to have the new homeowners call them if any questions come up after closing on how to take care of odds and ends, they are excited to be passing on a home they loved to new owners. With foreclosures there is no one to call, no joyful passing of the keys, usually not even an agent from the listing office appears.
Think about whether a few thousand dollars is worth the difference between a currently maintained, cared for home with a complete history compared to an empty, unkempt home that has often set vacant for long periods of time during the foreclosure period, some that are purposely damaged by the former owners in ways that may or may not be easily apparent. We all know that when anything falls into disuse, there is deterioration and decay. Some of it will show up during inspections, some of it will show up down the road. I know of homeowners that have let homes go into foreclosure after finding too many costly repairs are needed. With little invested to begin with, its just easier to give it back to the bank, but no disclosure will be available to the new buyer about the problems.
Buyers need to look at the whole picture, what are you saving and what are you risking when you take a chance on that abandoned home? Think about that car on blocks, you would know enough to wonder about its potential for problems compared to the car that is on the road and in smooth running condition. A home is a much larger investment than a car, don't tell your agent you only want to see the repos without giving the others a chance, you will be surprised by the difference when you actually visit a home that is currently loved.