Buying Vacant Homes
The housing market showing signs of recovery. Statewide sales rose seven percent in May. Some homes that have been on the market a long time are now looking like a bargain, but some of those homes may have hidden problems. Precisely because they have been vacant for so long. Some potential home buyers find themselves spending thousands of dollars on repairs after buying the home.
When it comes to buying a home, you can't judge a book by its cover.
The problem is that while the outward appearance of a home may be in good condition.
In some cases, potential home buyers can run into serious problems when it comes to the areas you can't see.
"I don't really know what to look for," said Robin Kolegue
When Kolegue bought her home in Gainesville several years ago, the first thing she did was hire an inspector.
"If I were to go up to the ceiling and the roof and the attic or to peek in any crawl space, I rely on someone else's expertise to do that," said Kolegue.
Her home was uninhabited for at least a year before she bought it.
Certified general contractor Terry Martin-Back said buying a vacant home could be risky.
"This works, but the garbage disposal has been sitting for over a year and a half is frozen," said Martin-Back.
That may be the least of your worries. Martin-Back told us long-vacant homes can have broken appliances, rusted pipes and water shut-off valves that do not worK. Causing major problems when everything is turned back on.
If you have a leak in your home and the shut-offs aren't working, you have to find the main valve that could be inside your house or outside. In this case it is outside. So what you do is you grab a key or an adjustable wrench. you grab the knob on the top and you twist it to shut the water on or off.
Martin- Back suggests- do your research.
He believes paying for small tests like pressure checking your pipes is an investment.
"It's better to spend $400-$5000 and not buy a property, versus buy the property and have to spend thousands of dollars," said Martin-Back.
Something this homeowner agrees with.
"A couple hundred dollars, even if you still choose to buy the house at least you know what the problems are," said Kolegue.
Martin-Back said sometimes it's worth buying a vacant home.
As long as the total cost of the house and the repairs are still under the neighboring homes' market value, then you know you got a deal.
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