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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Chicago, IL

    Default Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    How are people reporting this?

    I'm not so much looking for verbiage I can lift wholesale, as to put together a really comprehensive list of limitations, their possible consequences, and recommendations for further investigation.

    For example at the moment I'm working on the section where I reemphasize the fact that a "winterized" structure - especially if it is subjected to freezing conditions - may experience significant deterioration between the date of inspection and closing.


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    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL

  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    If they insist the inspection be done before all utilities are on there is only one thing you can write.

    The gas was not on to the property and saying that All I can tell you of the hot water heater is a visual inspection as to physical condition.

    And of course. Not inspected as the gas was not on to the property.

    There is no liability to something you cannot inspect. As long a you state you could not inspect due to ...............

    I may run into one to 2 properties a year where they cannot get the utilities on before I get there. Or delay to get the utilities on. If it is winterized I will de winterise but not re winterise. A slight fee is added.

  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    I will put this in the mix. We have one city in my area that has a $ 500. FINE to any person that turns on the water at the city meter.

    Some agents will ask my to turn on the water for them.

    NO WAY... Same with the GAS and the ELC.

    Its above my pay grade. Call the City, PGE.



  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    Around here it is common practice to winterize homes. As far as turning everything on I am talking that they already have utilities but the WH, Heater, is off at the unit. All the faucets are open to drain the water down and an anti freezing agent put into the toilets and traps and the electric is off at the main breaker.

    This is where the discussion begins with so many inspectors as not turning on anything or lighting anything. Again, very common practice around here. Sometimes they will have the company that winterizes the home turn it all back on and sometimes we will turn it all on and the winterizing company re winterizes it again.

    As far as turning water on at the meter it was not turned off by the city so you are not breaking any rules or laws.

    If there is a problem when turning things back on they (the listing company) sends someone out to take care of the problem.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 11-17-2008 at 05:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Chuck Jones's Avatar
    Chuck Jones Guest

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    Well over half of my inspections are foreclosed properties. I always ask to have the utilities turned on for the inspection. Most of the time the gas and electric are on but the property is winterized and the water is off at the meter.
    I have a small diaphragm compressor that I connect to the hot water laundry connection or the water heater drain so I can isolate hot from cold during the test. I check all fixtures for leaks. I have been doing this since the last early 90's and find most leaks.
    As for the water heater, I test fire it and turn it back off after checking for drafting. I have never burnt out a water heater doing this.
    The time to do this is procedure minimal for most homes. There are always a few that cause problems and I recommend a plumber be hired if I can't locate the problem.
    In the Denver Metro area, most buyers are having the sanitary drains scoped for around $100. I am toying with the idea of buying the equipment and offering the scope with the inspection for an additional fee.

  6. #6
    Steve Hodgden's Avatar
    Steve Hodgden Guest

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    Please - I'm very, very new to this board and my regrets for any reply that offends anyone but:
    I have insurance and my ins. agent would simply laugh me off for a water damage/ mold claim caused after "I" turned the water on for any reason whatsoever. Opening up a gas valve that has been turned off for unknown reasons or helping the customer learn the correct procedure on how to light a pilot burner.
    Stay with me here and not that I'm suggesting anyone here has a problem mind you:
    Over the years, we've lost a few good inspectors from lawsuits that were not so frivolous over blowing up houses or launching floating household accumulation via that hero-factor stuff. The Ball and Chain that I have been fighting off years with limited success. That "I can beat any system that prohibits me from completing the task". The monster that creeps up into an illicit primal "me". Yes, I've had problems with this.

    As a faint sign of recent recovery, I finally threw my own trusty (slightly rusty) insinkerator "wrench-ette" away last year. I'm done-with-it. I'll take the back of a furnace off if its got screws, but I won't turn the gas cock on to the furnace to save my life.

    If somethings off or not operating just say so with all of the scare factor and repeat warnings that come to mind. No Water, Gas or Electricity - Inspection is incomplete. Naked, crazy husband in the bedroom with shotgun - See Ya.

    We charge $XX for a return trip (more for the shotgun). Please call our office for an appointment. Thank you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Chicago IL

    Default Re: Foreclosure exclusions/limitations when utilities are off

    I do a fair amount of REO's. For those inspections, I bring my pad to write, flashlight and camera. No tools otherwise whatsoever.
    It's NOT a home inspection. It is a Building Assessment or Property Condition Report.
    If utilities are off, they are staying off.
    Let's say the water is off. I check the various components as usual. But at the top of the report page for plumbing it will state something like:
    'Water to the property was off at time of inspection. Condition of pipes, faucets or other plumbing components could not be verified. I suggest you verify such conditions prior to making final decisions on this property. Substantial cost will be involved to repair any broken pipes or components'.
    Same type of disclaimer on other utilities.
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"


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