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  1. #1
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    An incredible amount of unoccupied properties are on the market. Many potential buyers (potential clients from our perspective) get COLD FEET if the property is winterized. The same loan officers that got us into this mess keep us in it. They are not paying the past due utility bills or municipal liens.

    Anyone have any "Winter tales" to tell or bon mots of advice vis a vis these types of properties.

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    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Around here, the prospective buyers are responsible for turning the utilities back on for the inspection. Those responsible for for REO properties aren't generally real accommodating. I strongly encourage the prospective buyers get the utilities on even when they carp about the expense.

    The one piece of advice I would offer inspectors (and this probably only applies to newer ones) would be DO NOT turn the water on at the meter even if the seller says it's OK. Against my stated policy -- and in an attempt to be helpful with serious pressure from the buyer and both agents involved-- I did so. Once. A DIY CPVC fitting on the water supply for the clothes washer rocketed off and water geysered up and flooded the laundry room. I always carry a few towels with me for minor issues. I had to use them all this time. Fortunately, no one ever asked me to pay for any sort of repairs.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,286

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    There is a local agent that specializes in REO and he makes sure the utilities are on. Rumor has it that it costs him nearly 100K annually (in this market) to keep the utilities on in his listings (currently approximately 170). While many of these homes are in poor shape, at least the utilities are on.

    I recently inspected a winterized (REO) home. Pretty funny, because it is pointless as it really does not freeze around here. Anyway, there was a sticker on the kitchen sink notifying that the water was off. Of course, the toilets were loaded because they could not be flushed. Why don't they put the sticker on the toilet?

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    There is a local agent that specializes in REO and he makes sure the utilities are on. Rumor has it that it costs him nearly 100K annually (in this market) to keep the utilities on in his listings (currently approximately 170). While many of these homes are in poor shape, at least the utilities are on.

    I recently inspected a winterized (REO) home. Pretty funny, because it is pointless as it really does not freeze around here. Anyway, there was a sticker on the kitchen sink notifying that the water was off. Of course, the toilets were loaded because they could not be flushed. Why don't they put the sticker on the toilet?
    Here, they do. In fact, they slap the sticker on the top of the lid and tape the lid shut so there's no way to "accidentally" use it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,286

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Kevin,

    Apparently, the "winterizing" guys in your area are brighter than those in mine.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
    Martin Compton's Avatar
    Martin Compton Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    We do not have "winterized" problems here in the desert (Palm Springs area), but there are many foreclosed properties without some of all of the utilities on. When we schedule an inspection, we ask for a verification that the utilities are on and still arrive to find some utility off. The problem frequently is that the listing agent does not give the correct information to the buyer's agent. It also may be that agents do not give due dilligence to foreclosed properties.


  7. #7
    Brian Cooper's Avatar
    Brian Cooper Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    I get a lot of winterized properties as well. I disclose that the plumbing was not fully inspected because the house was winterized. I have not had one single complaint or comment on it yet.


  8. #8
    William Brady's Avatar
    William Brady Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    I did an inspections recently and found the water off in the home. The owners were traveling and shut it off while away. I advised my client that I could not inspect plumbing for that reason. In front of the client the Realtor says no problem I will have it turned on and he can be inspect tomorrow. I was taken back by the comment and wanted to know if anyone has had that type of experience and what would be something to say to address both the Realtor and client. Time is money for me I have better things to do than respond back to homes that I have already inspected. Help anyone. One thing it reminded of was to tell everyone who will listen to have all the systems on for the inspection.

    Bill B.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    1,056

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    My contract states the inspection fee is for one trip only. Additional trips will requre additional fees. The agent may be able to turn the water on the next day but I may not be available the next day.

    I had a foreclosure where the electrical meter had been pulled and the line from the pole had been cut. Water was turned off. Agent pulled out a meter wrench and attempted to turn on the water at the street. Water shot over 6 feet into the air. Well, it hit the agent in the face and then shot higher into the air. He turned off the water, wiped his face and tried again. Got a second face full of water.

    I inspected the home but disclaimed all the testing of the utitlies. There was plenty to report even with them turned off. We were going to schedule a second inspection when utilities were turned on. Never happened. Had it happened, I would have charged for the second trip and report. Not full price but something to cover my time.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  10. #10
    William Brady's Avatar
    William Brady Guest

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Thanks Bruce. For me the situation was the conversation just after the comment. What do you say, "I will try to scheduel you for tomorrrow and it will cost you the expense for my having to come back) It was that issue I was trying to find out about. Maybe I answered my own question. One thing is for sure I always tell them at the time I book the job to have all the systems on and to let everyone know about that.

    While on a subject like this, something I learned about this market since moving here back in Oct. Again, the Realtors are telling buyers to have the inspection fee rolled into the closing costs. Which translates into inspector have to wait for money. And if the deal does not close trying to get paid. I have no idea how all this got started but it is the situation I and others are faced with. I have decided to ask if the fee is going to be rolled into the deal and then say if thats the case it will cost $50 extra for the inspection. I explain my policy on getting paid and I am including wording into my contract about that. Don't you just love Realtors.

    Bill B


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Something I tell my clients verbally at the inspection and put in writing in the report is that a winterized property will likely develop leaks shortly after being dewinterized. Gaskets and seals within lines and fixtures will dry, shrink, and crack when there is no water in the system so leaks can be expected.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Something I tell my clients verbally at the inspection and put in writing in the report is that a winterized property will likely develop leaks shortly after being dewinterized. Gaskets and seals within lines and fixtures will dry, shrink, and crack when there is no water in the system so leaks can be expected.
    I do the same when the property is vacant.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,517

    Default Re: Winterized/foreclosure inspections

    I'm in a battle now over a winterized home.

    Seems the company who winterized the home disconnected the coupling at the service meter to drain the line. Doing so they cracked the threaded coupling.

    I went out to the home this past Saturday to do the inspection and found the water off. I raised the meter to look to see if the meter had been padlocked by the city when I observed the damaged coupling.

    Told the agent who in turn called the listing agent, who in turn starting blaming me saying I must have broke it. The b@%^*

    She called me and started ranting. I told her when she could talk to me like a human and not sound like noises from a baboons ass to call me back and I hung up on her.

    She called me back a few minutes later with a new attitude. She said she would call the winterize company and the city and get it on so that I may proceed with the inspection.

    Now the winterize company is calling me and saying they did not disconnect the line as I found. I told them it was strange because I've inspected umpteen number of homes that they have winterized and found the same thing on before with the line being disconnected and that one of their techs told me that they do this do blow out the lines.

    Its frustrating dealing with these foreclosures for sure. I'm about ready to tell folks that I don't inspect them at all.


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