With very rare exceptions, most of the foreclosure properties I’ve seen throughout Wayne and Pike County generally require extensive work to be made livable. Plumbing needs to be repaired or replaced due to frozen pipes or theft. Mold is often prevalent. Floors are crooked, windows are broken, carpets are ruined. Additionally, angry homeowners take out their frustrations on the house, damaging walls and fixtures as a way to “get even” with the banks.
Some buyers express shock that homeowners would leave their home in such a condition; without realizing that the former homeowner was unwilling to leave their home and may have been very angry at the time. They are in no mood to “tidy up” for the next occupants.
While we may pontificate and wax with sanctimonious airs about agreements with the bank and obligations to “keep their word” we honestly don’t know the situation that forced the homeowners out of their home. As has been demonstrated in the news, many foreclosure proceedings by big lenders have been carried out illegally. (Articles here, here, and here….and there are more to be found on Google.)
We also must take into account that life circumstances may have stepped in and caused a family to no longer be able to make their payments: a death, a serious illness, a loss of job or cut in pay or any other catastrophic and unforeseeable event that turned their lives upside down. I can not go into a foreclosure property without feeling sad over “whatever” may have happened to cause the people to lose their home.
Sometimes the poor condition is due to abuse, but much of the time I personally think it’s due to neglect from lack of resources or emotional inability to manage a bad situation. Sometimes
it is a matter of ignorance, such as with this infestation of powder post beetles my clients and I observed in the basement of one foreclosure in Hawley, near Lake Wallenpaupack.
The previous homeowner invested a lot of money applying what amounted to mere band-aids to her home before losing it to foreclosure: she put on a new roof, new siding, new windows…making it look pretty…but never had the basement checked for wood destroying insects. As a result, all the floor joists and many of the beams are being reduced to “powder” thanks to an ongoing infestation that has been eating the house from the inside out for years. Fortunately in this instance, my client was experienced in construction and foundation issues and was able to spot this problem ahead of time.
Regardless of the cause, the fact remains: foreclosure homes generally need a LOT of work.
My advice to buyers who see a foreclosure home in Northeast PA that is reasonably priced and in fairly good condition: jump on it, because it won’t be around long. The foreclosures that have been on the market for a LONG TIME are still on the market because nobody wants them for the price the bank is asking. Be prepared when looking at a “long in the tooth” foreclosure: there may be many issues to overcome.
Previously I thought the problem with foreclosure homes being in such disrepair was limited to a certain sector of the foreclosure market, but according to this article, as many as 95% of the foreclosures on the market need extensive rehabilitation before they can be considered livable. While you may be lucky and come across a rare one that needs only some spit and polish (i.e., new carpets, fresh paint, some sheet rock repair, and a good thorough cleaning) the truth is, most REO property (another name for bank owned foreclosures) will require a good bit of sweat equity and rehab investment.
For a current list of Pike / Wayne County PA Foreclosure Homes For Sale: Click Here.