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Foreclosure Inspections

Home Inspector with Alltech Home Inspections

90% of our inspections in the last 12 weeks have been Bank Owned properties. 75% of those were "Builder Closeouts" or new construction that were never occupied. Most of these properties have been finished correctly; a few builders have cut come corners to save money. However, some of the WORST properties that I have inspected in years make up most of the other 25%.

It seems that many of the houses that have gone into foreclosure were never inspected during the last owners purchase. Enter the new 2009 foreclosure market and "as-is" purchases, and it's a remedy for disaster! The current "First time buyer" does not have thousands of dollars to repair a foundation, replace a roof or replace the HVAC system.

At this point in time, getting an inspection from a professional Home Inspector may be more vital than at any other time in modern construction history. The choice of inspector is more vital than ever. In most states anyone can call themselves a Home Inspector, and with the slow construction market many contractors and tradesmen are looking for an income. If buyers are not diligent, they can be swayed by a low ball inspection fee and get a blind inspector. Make sure the buyer is doing their homework, due diligence only takes a few minutes on the phone asking the right questions to 3 - 4 inspectors. First time buyers may need to know what to ask, so they may need some expert help and this is where the professional Realtor steps in with a list of questions.

Here are some topics and sample questions to help the first timer get started:

1) Are you licensed? If your state requires licensure make sure the inspector is approved by the state. But does the inspector meet any "higher" standards? Is the inspector a member of a professional inspection organization like interNACHI or ASHI? If your state does not require inspector licensing; Where was the inspector formally trained to perform inspections? AND What type of experience and education does the inspector have in the construction industry?

2) What does the inspection include and how long will it take? A thorough inspection, in most parts of the country, last 3 - 5 hours. What type of inspection report will I get and when will it be delivered? The report should be a computer-generated, a combination of checklist and narrative and it should include photos/diagrams and comments. Does the inspector do any repairs? If the inspector offers to perform repairs it's a conflict of interest - choose a different inspector! Can the client attend the inspection? This is a valuable educational experience for the buyer, if the inspector responds "No" it should raise a red flag.

Not a complete list but it's a start.

In closing - remember that the inventory on the market today may not be the best and there are many cosmetically appealing homes that are in poor condition or need a lot of cash to own. Complete Home Inspections are a necessity now more than ever. Accept nothing less than a Professional Home Inspector.

Hope this has helped.



Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Almost all of the REO properties have deferred maintenance issues or need repairs. We are seeing many plumbing problems from freezing over the winter. Mold is everywhere. Absolutely need a good home inspector for these properties. It is very easy to miss items.

Aug 14, 2009 03:09 AM
Sharon Senger
tcDocs - Seattle, WA
Licensed Transaction Coordinator


If you are going to buy REO properties why would you not get a home inspection by a reputable inspector.  Even if it is being sold "as is" at least the Buyer knows what the problems are and the cost involved which needs to be a consideration when submitting an offer.


Aug 14, 2009 03:25 AM
Matt Morris
Alltech Home Inspections - Duluth, GA

Sharon -

Sorry I dont know if you got my point. I was stating that buyers today MUST get these houses inspected.


Aug 14, 2009 07:18 AM
Sharon Senger
tcDocs - Seattle, WA
Licensed Transaction Coordinator

Hi Matt,

Sorry if I did not make my comment clear, I totally agree even if someone is buying "as is" they still need to get a home inspection so that they know what repairs need to be done and the cost involved. 


Aug 15, 2009 03:18 AM