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Foreclosure presentation and Writers Block


Bob Mulloy
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Hi All,

I have been asked to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on "Inspecting Foreclosed or Bank Owned Homes," and I must admit that this is a rather difficult task.

I am looking for suggestions regarding content, outline, etc. Aside from the obvious regarding reporting on systems that are in a shut-down condition, disclaimers and horror stories, can anyone suggest any other content that I might include?

Regards,

Bob Mulloy, Chairman

ASHI-NE Chapter Education Committee

rmulloy@verizon.net

www.allsafehomeinspection.com

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I wish they would make a law against winterizing plumbing systems. I think it causes more problems than it saves. It's the process of dewinterizing the plumbing system then having to babysit it, and clean areators, filling the water heater and getting that going so I can check for shower shock and swaps that I hate.

Often the dishwasher will leak on the first run.

Gas fireplaces take forever to purge and get them going.

If it's been cold long enough then I got false elevated moisture levels and condensation to figure out.

And there's no one to inquire with for why those odd things are odd.

Chris, Oregon

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Bob,

all the things Chris has stated (mostly). I think it is most important to educate the client about the unique and special limitations of inspecting a forclosed/winterized house. Manage their expectations and be sure to include specific language in report. That said, we find we can have a bunch of fun with these houses and still give the client value for their money.

The following comments are somewhat regional, as we have had a poor market for three years and we are frozen about 10 months per year. Heck around here they winterize foreclosed houses in June!

Talking points:

Most plumbing will not immediately fail. If the water supply and drains are activated within 24hrs before inspection, we may not find all or any leaks.

The house is wet. Even if it does not look wet.

The house is no longer under any load. no furniture, carpet has settled, wood floors are acclimated, traps may be dry etc. No weight loads, hvac loads, electrical loads.

Every bit of loose crap in the water supply lines will end up in the faucet; if not today it will tommorrow.

Doors and windows (fenestration) are a crap shoot.

Change all locks and codes.

God only knows how much shampoo, drano, bar soap, soft soap, mustard, milk and cheese is in the drain lines.

etc etc etc.

Inspecting repos and vacant houses requires lots of skill, knowledge and a tad of art mixed in.

Finally, do not fall into the trap of trying to explain why something is the way it is.

Oh ya, we have NEVER been in a repo that we did not find at least a penny if not more!

Added after posting: Bob is one of the few that has been around longer than me!

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. . . Oh ya, we have NEVER been in a repo that we did not find at least a penny if not more!

How sad. If only the owners had known, maybe they wouldn't have been foreclosed upon.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

"If you never spend your last penny, you'll never be broke." - Aunt Gertrude Katen

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. . . Oh ya, we have NEVER been in a repo that we did not find at least a penny if not more!

How sad. If only the owners had known, maybe they wouldn't have been foreclosed upon.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

"If you never spend your last penny, you'll never be broke." - Aunt Gertrude Katen

I think there is a lot of truth in that. Sometimes it is as simple as watching where the change goes. If the owners had only known.

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If I was looking to get into these, I'd absolutely have a pressure testing setup so I could pressurize the plumbing.

Matt Fletcher and Reuben S. over at the ASHI board had some good ideas on testing plumbing that was shut off. There's a thread on the topic, and Reuben posted a picture of his pressure testing valve set up.

I'd talk about all the weird little micro-climates that develop throughout houses that sit vacant through the winter, and how it can really, really screw stuff up.

There always seems to be a kicked in door, at least one plumbing fixture removed (usually the Grohe kitchen sink faucet), and very often the furnace(s) are ripped out.

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We operate in a market area that allowes us to know lots of people. We know about 15% of the former owners of the repo houses we do. It will get to you if you have any compassion at all.

The percentage of repo houses we inspected in the past is much higher.

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Bob- Opening my house in Maine after a winter shutdown:

Most of what has been stated

Add: Propane takes a while ? to purge out of furnace,grill, and

Monitor Space Heater. Usually have to manually restart.

Walls,floors etc take about a day to come up to temperature.

Plumbing should be "getting warm" before activating. Traps

should have been protected with anti-freeze mixture.

I usually find it necessary to open up some doors and windows

to air out a closed up (very tight) house.[8D]

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I would mention that the inspector should be prepared for 'access' issues on the day of the inspection. The access-control of the building is usually somewhat fouled-up. I had one where the door was found kicked-in on arrival and most of the copper tubing gone. LA called the cops and it became a crime scene. No inspection there that day. Another one I went to had the keys, but the previous owner had screwed-in screws to all the locks. No inspection there that day. You may want to incorporate a 'possible aggravation/cancellation' fee into those jobs for that type of problem. Otherwise, everything is as mentioned above.

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Bob,

Took these photos while with one of our inspectors last Friday. I think they kinda relate to how an inspector can manage expectations while inspecting foreclosed house.

The inspector, a long time ASHI member, clearly informed client this inspection was unique and had many limitations. He was very specific about these limitations. The photo comments are not a copy of the final report, just my glib comments in a comic book format.

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Replace overloaded main electric service entrance panel. The house is heated by radiant electric wall units, most have broken t-stats or broken components. See following photos

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This photo shows unsafe washer and dryer hook-ups. Drain from washer goes to floor drain out of photo. Replace electric circuit and dryer vent. Electric wall heater on right of photo is typical and does not shut off with t-stat.

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Replace 82gal 57year old electric water heater. This type unit uses large heating elements in the tank and are quite inefficient. This water heater was heating during the inspection, however the exterior casing reached 160degrees from heat loss. Improper/unsafe T&P protection.

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Repair or replace wallpaper in lower shower stall. Wallpapered shower stalls usually are an indication of a shower stall that is not correctly installed. Shower can't drain onto the floor and run across floor into sump pump pit.

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This is where shower and washing machine terminates; open sump pit. This situation must be corrected by tradesperson.

The plumbing, heating and electrical systems in this house are unsafe and not functional at this time. Recommend having licensed tradespeole estimate cost to remedy all three systems.

We did not and can not list and report all flaws and defects in this house. We have discussed the major systems and their condition.

blah blah blah

Point is I believe it is most important to manage client expectations. They know the plumbing, heating and electrical systems are in poor unsafe repair/condition. Bank ain't gonna do nothing.

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If you're presenting this to a group of Realtors I would impress upon them the importance of taking care of their client. The onus is on the buyers agent to make sure the house is in "lived in condition" when it is time for the home inspection.

I do not de-winterize a home and I do not discount my rate for a home that isn't ready. I'm not in business to subsidize the laziness of others.

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Hi,

I did a duplex today that's bank owned. The owner lived upstairs and the tenants who were evicted when it was foreclosed on had lived downstairs. The upstairs had some issues but wasn't anything shocking to look at; the basement unit, which is identical to the upper unit, had holes punched in all of the walls, the doors were kicked in, the window locks had been removed, the lock sets had been removed, there was a puddle of yellow liquid in the center of the kitchen floor and the place smelled like they'd been urinating on every square inch of the carpet. The bathroom was so nasty that Yung refused to go in there to check for leaks at the fixtures, around the toilets, etc. and I had to do it.

There should be a way to charge people for destruction of private property for leaving a home in that kind of condition.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi Everyone,

I want to thank all who responded to my request. FYI, perhaps I did not clarify my objective. I plan to create a PowerPoint presentation on "Inspecting A Foreclosed Home" for the continuing education requirements of home inspectors, not realtors.

So far, your many suggestions for content are great!

"The best teacher for a home inspector is another home inspector!"

Bob Mulloy

rmulloy@verizon.net

www.allsafehomeinspection.com

ASHI-NE Chapter Education Committee Chairman

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If you're presenting this to a group of Realtors I would impress upon them the importance of taking care of their client. The onus is on the buyers agent to make sure the house is in "lived in condition" when it is time for the home inspection.

I do not de-winterize a home and I do not discount my rate for a home that isn't ready. I'm not in business to subsidize the laziness of others.

Pardon me for asking, but isn't the term "move-in condition?" Best I recall, "lived-in" is a term usually applied to a house that's kinda beat.

WJ

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