December 17, 2009  

Foreclosed homes aren’t always the best deal in town – even if they do come with a price tag that appears to be lower than some other homes in the neighborhood.

Here are 10 reasons why that is true, offered by Vince Mastronardi, president of On-Site Specialty Cleaning & Restoration in suburban Detroit.

No heat in the winter. When a home has been left unheated, buyers run a risk of damaged pipes.
Not removed but ripped. Thieves and even angry former owners can do a lot of damage when they depart with fixtures and key systems like heaters and air conditioners.
Peeling, bubbling, and discoloration. Water incursion isn’t always obvious, but these are signs.
Mold. Where there is water there is mold. Look inside cabinets, behind drawers, and around built-ins.
Blocked drains and pipes. Sewer backups can be expensive to fix.
Black cobwebs. This is the result of a malfunctioning furnace, common in properties where there hasn’t been maintenance for a long time.
Homemade and handy. Where renovations don’t look professional, check with the municipal authority. They may have been completed without permits and that could mean they have to be redone.
Fresh paint everywhere. What is the seller covering up?
Check the basement. Look for discolored subflooring, which can point to mold. And search for asbestos, common in older homes that haven’t been brought up to code.
Air quality. Include air and surface testing in a home inspection. It’s a few hundred dollars well spent.