Working with first time buyers who are looking for the foreclosure deals is no PANACEA but rather a heart wrenching, frustrating, experience that can be downright madening at times. Thought I don't profess to be an appraiser by any means, there are properties where the "highest and best use" of that property, in my opinion, would be to level it right down to the foundation and build new.
Not all properties fall in these categories but a significant number of them do. Foreclosure properties are often no deal. And working with the some banks can present a nightmare to all involved. They haven't seen the property but yet they are looking for unrealistic prices when often these properties have mold and other problems that occur when a property is left vacant for a large amount of time. I have seen bats in the shower stall, the tail of some animal under the floor left open, insects, and other small dead animals in a few of the properties.
Some of these properties are in need of immense repair, and even at that, will never bring back the money that tearing this building down and replacing the structure, would bring as a future return to any buyer not to exclude property taxes for the City. In the city that I work in, there is a new law that was recently enacted. This information I come by from a listing agent that works primarily with foreclosure properties. It states that;
"once a property is bank owned, the existing Certificate of Compliance known as the COC becomes void whether residential or muti family then the city will has to inspect the property confirming that it is in compliance with their requirements before it can be occupied again."
This is a move in the right direction as I see it!This could present a great opportunity in those instances for cities and towns purchase these properties and start cleansing the areas. On one property, as I left to get a flashlight, when the storm door let go, hit me on the arm and broke my skin forming a one inch break in a V formation. I ran to my car and quickly put an anitbiotic creme and a large band aid that I carry as an emergency. The buyer I was working with tells me that he has written a lengthy letter to the NH Real Estate Commission on the subject. Later I came home and cleansed the area with peroxide and again nursed the wound. I had a tetanus shot a year ago. I notified the listing agent who never followed up with me on this. Now looking back and for health reasons, I was foolish not to go to the emergency room for treatment. Somebdy should be responsible to assure that the property is safe to enter and exit. Another property had nails coming from the underside of the floor, perhaps a hundreds or more of them that could have pierced the sole of my shoe and/or also injur my buyers who were accompanying me at these showings. On that property I did notify the managing broker of that listing office.
So is the foreclosure market a panacea for first time home owners? You decide and let me hear your comments. Together we can make a difference.
Fran MacDonald, Associate Broker, ABR, CRS, SRES, Realtor