A good buyers agent will help you write a contract that:

  • requires water, electric, and gas be turned on so that plumbing , air conditioners, furnaces, appliances can be tested. This may take several days and the contract should allow for this.

  • allows the buyer to get all earnest money back if the inspection reveals defects that will cost more than anticipated. The buyer below paid an inspection fee of $250. The inspection revealed $9800 worth of repairs. I reinspected the property to make sure repairs were done properly.
New homes need to be inspected too!  In many areas around Atlanta, Municipal Building Inspection Departments staffs have been reduced or eliminated.  Also, a home may meet Code but is poorly crafted.  I spend much more time on an individual home than the local building official, so if you sell in three years, your home will sell without problems. Bad drainage, missing door and window seals,  are common and very damaging. I  found a bad air conditioning coil spraying water in the attic. 
This home looked excellent on the surface.  Brand new kitchen appliances, granite counters, hardwood floors, carpets, bath cabinets/fixtures/sinks/ tile floors, pretty neutral colors throughout, and a nice cu-de-sac lot overlooking a beautiful lot.  Unfortunately, all these new coverings hid the fact that the home had been flooded by a polybutylene plumbing leak.  The water permanently warped the sub floor structure about 1 inch out of level. This was not corrected before installing all the new materials.  The plumbing was replaced with PEX tubing, a new type of tubing similar to polybutylene.  Since 2007, the number of Class Action lawsuits filed against PEX tubing has increased from one to nine. Millions of defective fittings were sold to big box retailers across the country.  Also, the roof looked good on one side but was 20 years old at the end of its life. Their buyers agent advised them to walk away from this home, and found them a much better home for less. A good buyers agent cares about you.
Foreclosures and bank owned properties are a good opportunity but I recommend to be very careful by using a good buyers agent and an experienced home inspector.  The big banks that have received billions of dollars in tax payer bailouts advertise that a private home inspection is essential, but some make you pay $75 to have the water, electric, and gas turned on, like requiring a used car buyer to bring their own gasoline for a test drive. The sales contracts protect them not you.  From an inspector standpoint, homes are often "winterized" .  Many have not been ventilated in a long time, allowing moisture to accumulate. A good inspector will not only look at defective items that are there, but also knows what items are missing.  I frequently see homes with missing plumbing, air conditioners, and ripped out wiring.

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