Mold and Unseen Terrors In Your Foreclosure?!
The foreclosure market brings with it many concerns – foreclosure filing rates, processing delays, robo- signing, home prices, etc. – all associated with what goes on outside the home up on the auction block. One concern, though, may involve something that goes on inside the home – mold.
That’s right – mold may be a significant problem in many foreclosures today, a new issue that investors and homebuyers should understand.
NPR recently reported that as many as half of the foreclosed homes on the market today may be affected by mold, which can result in health complications in the home’s occupants. The main reason for this is something called “the stack effect”, which basically keeps mold at bay because of the air currents generated by home residents entering and exiting the house. Of course, with no residents, mold can flourish.
Mold is, as you can see, a potential problem – but are there other issues that could pose potential problems with prospective investors or homebuyers?
The same conditions that have caused mold to pick up and infest a home also allow living pest to infest the home, namely termites. Termites are largely kept at bay because homeowners regularly spray and treat the home through pest control services and termite bonds. Termite bonds can be transferrable in foreclosure, so any home should be inspected by an inspector to see if this is an issue.
Many lenders also do not do a very good job of maintaining the homes they possess – especially the ones that languish on the foreclosure inventory list for months, if not years. This could mean anything from a backyard consumed by weeds to pools that are partially drained, at best, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Plus, the absence of regular inspections and checks by homeowners (who are no longer there) means water leaks go unnoticed and can ruin walls, floors, and the structure of the home.
Mold is not just the only problem that you could face with your foreclosure. Fortunately, the good news is that you can easily find foreclosure properties that do not have any of these issues. Or, if they do, you can often make the lender who owns the home pay for the treatment of mold, termites, water damage, and other potential obstacles.
Even in an “as-is” property, the issues could be a negotiating chip to lower the price and save you money when you put in a bid. It’s hard to think that foreclosures can get any cheaper, but they can – and you can be there to profit as a result.
Invest in a good home inspector and don’t let yourself be surprised by any of these conditions whenever you go to the auction yard and put in a bid.