Nov 03, 2015

Hazards of Buying a Vacant Home

The social media website, Buzzfeed.com, keeps viewers engaged with its constant stream of hilarious posts that often go viral.

One of our favorites are videos of those that attempted acts described as seemingly good ideas, such as going off a diving board while riding a kayak or sitting on a chair with a leaf blower.  (Let’s just say that hindsight proves to be 20/20 in all of the scenarios.)

If you’ve reached adulthood in the game of life, you understand that the consequences of your actions aren’t always black and white prior to making a decision.  One area where you can save big on the overall price or spend a lot more than budgeted on repairs is buying a vacant, and oftentimes, bank-owned home.  Here’s what to consider before moving forward with this kind of a purchase.

Home Inspection Challenges: It’s routine to have a property undergo a complete inspection prior to it being sold. However, if it’s unoccupied because of the previous owners’ finances, the utilities are likely shut off.  That means an inspector does not have a way of completely analyzing appliances, HVAC systems and plumbing.  This leaves you vulnerable to pricey repairs after your closing date that you were unaware of.  Do note that in some instances, you can get a property’s utilities turned on, but it will be at your expense, regardless if you purchase the home.

Maintenance Issues: Homeowners that are not able to pay their mortgage rarely have the funds to invest money in home maintenance.  As a result, projects such as deck staining, roof replacement or winterizing the sprinkler system can be neglected.  It’s unreasonable to think that no repairs will be needed on a home that’s been vacant for an extended period of time.  Another problematic situation could arise if homeowners took on home improvement projects outside of their skill set and either didn’t complete them or completed them incorrectly.

Homeowners Insurance Complications: Many insurance companies will decline to insure a home that has been unoccupied without having one of their representatives comb through the property first.  If they determine some areas require maintenance, they may refuse to issue a policy until their concerns have been satisfied.

Backyard Jungle: One of the first items to fall into disrepair on a vacated property is the landscaping.  A backyard jungle can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, mice and other pests.  Be prepared to allocate funds to get it up to snuff.

Mold: Believe it or not, the amount of time and moisture required for an unoccupied home to have mold issues is minimal.  Condensation is all that is needed for the process to commence. A home with improper heating or cooling measures in place during extreme temperatures can soon become infested with mold.


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Cottage Grove, MN
March 25, 2022

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Eden Prairie, MN
February 14, 2022

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Shoreview, MN
November 22, 2021

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Minnetonka, MN
November 11, 2021

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Brooklyn Center
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Circle Pines, MN
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Columbia Heights, MN
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Shoreview, MN
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Roberts, WI
October 14, 2021
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