Thursday, April 10, 2008

Buyer Beware!


With all the media attention on the sub-prime mortgage situation, it seems that hardly a day passes when some buyer doesn't ask me about foreclosures. It seems that everybody thinks that is the best way to get the best deal in Rochester real estate.

Today was no exception. I was working with a buyer looking for a multi-family investment property in the city of Rochester. He was pretty excited about a new listing and could tell that it was a foreclosure by all the tape and winterizing stickers in the bathroom photo. The price was right and the description claimed it was a good property in average condition.
I made the appointment and met the buyer on site. Our first impression was the property was better than average condition. The kitchens and baths were dated but functional. One of the apartments had nice gum-wood trim that had not been painted. Each unit had three bedrooms of respectable size. The roof was older but still functioning.
We were both excited about "the find" as we headed back down into the basement. Suddenly my client realized that there was no plumbing in the basement. Someone had gone through and cut the pipes and harvested all the copper! Only in real estate can a house without plumbing be described as in average condition!!!
I often discourage young, first time home buyers from even looking at foreclosures. In most cases, the water, electric and gas have been turned off which makes even major defects obscure, unless you pay several hundred dollars for an inspection. So if you think buying a foreclosure is right for you, remember the old adage, "buyer beware!"
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