What to Wear When Shopping For a Distressed Property!

Reblogger Lenn Harley
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

Of course, if you get in a house wherein mold is found, you and the buyers should leave the house quickly, go to the back, strip naked, burn the clothes, drive home and shower. 

Then burn the car.

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.

Original content by Renée Donohue~Home Photography B.1000860.LLC

My Shoes

I wear blue jeans and casual shoes that are made of cloth and can go in the washer.  To some people, they may think I lack professionalism but if they could encounter what I encounter, as we never know what treasure we will find when we open a door, it will all be forgiven.  Walk a mile in my shoes and learn what to wear (and what you will may encounter) while shopping what is termed "Distressed Property" (REO, Foreclosures, Short Sales.)

From tip toe-ing through pigeon turds & cockroach carcasses and breathing in mold in between (let's not forget elements too) here is a guide on what to wear when searching for an REO or short sale:

Don't bring children if you don't have to!  It would mortify me if brown bear or blannie touched the floor in some of these homes - and I am not the best housekeeper in the world.

Dress for the Elements!  Make sure you are dressing appropriate for the weather.  Distressed property may lack heating or air conditioning.  I would say it is socially acceptable to wear shorts and tank tops in the summer for now while searching for homes.  Bring water in your car to stay hydrated.  In the winter, even though we don't see severely cold winters, make sure you layer up with sweaters and extra pairs of socks.

Be aware of potentially hazardous situations (while this isn't "the norm":)

Squatters:  This does not happen as frequently as it used to.  For the most part, with the market being extremely hot and homes receiving multiple offers + list agent checks and weekly preservation checks, odds of running into a squatter are a little less what they were even a year ago!  Active listings are generally getting multiple visits per day. 

Smells:  Sometimes smells in vacant homes can be overwhelming.  Many times it is due to the fact that someone used the toilet when the water is off.

Mold:  Persons highly allergic to mold should bring face masks when looking at homes to avoid breathing in mold spores. 

Pests:  If cockroaches bug you, you shouldn't be living in Las Vegas!  Many times pest control has been called in after the foreclosure so usually there are just dead bugs everywhere.

Water Damage:  Wear non-skid comfortable shoes. 

Lights Out:  It isn't safe to look by flashlight in homes that do not have electricity.  It is important to schedule appointments during daylight hours.

Trash:  I see it a lot pre-list but now agents are doing a better job at cleaning out their properties but it is still possible (although more rare) to find personal belongings in REO properties.  You will run into trash if you are looking at short sales.  Sometimes the property hasn't been cleaned in years.  There are some that I wonder if they were ever cleaned since they were built.

Green Pools:  Stagnant water sources breed diseases and most notably become a great breeding ground for mosquitos that could bring a concern for West Nile Virus.

green pool

dead bugs (bees)


More than ever, it is important to work with real estate professionals who know this market to help spot potential hazards because you never know what is hiding behind that closed door!  


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Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Thats outstanding advice thanks for re-posting the blog.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Feb 27, 2010 09:21 AM #1
Jay Schmitt
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg Real Estate Agent

Lenn thanks for the post. I really could have used it 2 days ago. I previewed my first ever foreclosure yesterday. I wasn't a horror but it certainly wasn't what I had expected.

Feb 27, 2010 09:30 AM #2
Jared Hokanson
Hokanson Realty & Jared Realty Group - Medford, OR
Your Home Sold, GUARANTEED!*

Lenn - Some great suggestions there, thanks for sharing!

Feb 27, 2010 09:57 AM #3
Dick and Dixie Sells
Sells Real Estate, LLC - Trinity, FL
Realtors, Tampa Bay Florida Homes For Sale

Burn the car! I love it. Now I will say that I definitely have been in some where I wanted to run screaming and could hardly wait for a long shower with loads of soap!

Feb 27, 2010 10:00 AM #4
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate


That about sums up what I do upon seeing that creepy black stuff.  In fact, when the market shifted to having a boat-load of foreclosures, I started carrying gobs of hand sanitizer in the car.

An easier approach would be to just burn the house down and start again, though I can't justifiably recommend arson to anyone reading this!

Feb 27, 2010 10:31 AM #5
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


I can't tell you how angry I get when the listing agent doesn't warn showing agents that there is mold in the house.


Feb 27, 2010 10:53 AM #6
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


And Renee is in Las Vegas... I thought it is a glitzy place, as what I only see are those huge hotels and casinos..

Guess life beyond the Strip is sometimes not as glitzy

Feb 27, 2010 02:12 PM #7
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Lenn!  LMAO at your comment--the image remains in my mind!!

Great advice from Renee--she's on the front line with these and has been for quite some time.  We can all learn from her knowledge and experience with distressed properties.


Feb 27, 2010 03:06 PM #8
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Lenn, clearly heels, fancy clothes, etc. are not in order when showing many homes here, especially the distressed properties. Mask, great idea too.

But your comment about burning the car about caused me to fall off the couch! I couldn't agree more. Burn it, burn it all, then burn it again! I am one that is allergic.

Feb 27, 2010 10:38 PM #9
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I can smell mold as soon as I open the front door of a house.  I tell my clients to back away and not to enter.  Learned this after getting quite sick after a day of touring moldy houses last year.  Disclaimer...I am not a mold expert but if it smells damp and wet then most likely the green and black stuff growing on the walls is mold.  However to be 100% certian you must have it tested by a certified mold expert.


Feb 27, 2010 10:47 PM #10
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
Century 21 New Millennium - Upper Marlboro, MD
A doctor who makes house calls.

Your comments made me laugh out loud.  I have left many a house with the wish that I could burn everything including the listing agent who didn't disclose the presence of mold.

Feb 28, 2010 07:22 AM #11
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Stacey-Ann.  I suppose it could easily be noticed that I don't sell homes with mold.

Cindy.  HA!  If a buyer is going to get so far as a test for mold, they're going to be working with another agent.

Andrea.  Many are, especially children.  I turn folks away from the first phone call if the home they want to see clearly has visible mold growths.  They're looking for cheap.  I'm not assuming their risk.

Debe.  I learn from Renee regularly. 

Jon.  I'm surprised that mold would be much of a problem in the desert.

Richard.  I agree completely. 

Dick and Dixie. Indeed.  Those mold spores permeate the premises, your cloths, hair, etc.  UGH.  Let me outta here.

Brian.  I agree completely.  There isn't enough money in the sale of a property to persuade me to sell a home with a visible mold growth.  I've had folks with children seek these homes because they are cheap.  I send them to the Internet to read about Stachybotrys. 



Feb 28, 2010 10:27 AM #12
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