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Buying a Foreclosed Home? Top Problem Areas to Look Out For

by Pat Fales, Associate Broker

Today's real estate landscape offers some great buys for savvy real estate consumers, especially when it comes to foreclosure properties. Unfortunately, even though there are already a large number of foreclosures on the market, analysts are predicting that yet another wave of distressed properties will crop up in the coming months.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, have consulted with many clients seeking to capitalize on a foreclosure purchase. We always advise them, however, to weigh the pros and cons. While a foreclosure could represent your best chance to get a great deal, make sure you educate yourself about the potential pitfalls of purchasing a distressed property in advance - and what correcting those pitfalls might cost. In most cases, it's not so much about what damage occurred but rather the source of the damage and how long before the problem was addressed.

Here are the top 10 signs that may indicate trouble in a foreclosed home:

  1. Unheated house in winter months. If the home has been properly winterized, there's no need for heat. But if the home has not been properly winterized, pipes will burst and cause water damage.
  2. Missing sinks, toilets and other fixtures. Make sure they've been properly removed and not ripped from walls and floors.
  3. Peeling, bubbling and discolored paint; swelling in walls or ceilings (especially around kitchens and bathrooms), or a musty odor all indicate water damage and, potentially, the presence of moisture and mold.
  4. Fungus growth inside cabinets, behind drawers and built-ins. Fungus could mean that there has been water damage. Since water falls down, look for the source above the mold.
  5. Blocked drains or pipes will cause future problems and may have already created sewage backups.
  6. Black cobwebs, greasy gray residue on walls and/or a strong oily odor. This could point to potential soot damage or a malfunctioning furnace.
  7. An older home with extensive renovations. Check with the city for pulled permits in order to get remolding details. If asbestos is present and has been disturbed, be sure it's been remediated by a certified specialist.
  8. Excessive painting of every nook, cranny, door and floor may mean that the seller is covering up mold.
  9. Discolored subflooring. From the basement, check the subflooring above for stains and small holes, both caused by mold.
  10. Air quality. The air quality within a home tells a lot about the home's condition. Be sure to include air and surface testing in your home inspection. It's a few hundred dollars well spent.

There are indeed many great opportunities in today's market, but proper education and preparation are essential to making the right investment. Please e-mail our team for further information and be sure to share this article with others who might be considering a foreclosure purchase.

Labor Day

by Pat Fales, Associate Broker

Happy Labor Day!  Summer is officially over and fall begins…even though, technically, autumn really begins on September 23rd.   With children going back to school and vacation season wrapping up, the focus of life tends to become more regimented and serious starting today.  The cycle begins anew.

Labor Day has always been a holiday that I have looked forward to.  To me, it represented the day before school started, fun new clothes, new books, and new classes of study, new teachers, and new friends.  My birthday is usually on or around this holiday so it made the celebration all that much more of special interest to me.  My parents always joked that I was born on Labor Day because I have had a strong work ethic from an early age.  I recently learned that was all in jest, however; it was their way of making a point of my incessant quest to find projects to do.   I find fun in doing things that most folks would consider work, so a Labor Day birthday seemed apropos.

 It is curious, though, that it has only been in recent years that I have paid much attention to when and why Labor Day became an American holiday at all.    It was all about honoring those that were industrious and entrepreneurial and the contributions made by average people to make our country great.   I thought that you might find the following excerpt from the official website of the Department of Labor interesting. 

 I’ll be thinking about you as I work on one of my many projects today!  Relax and enjoy YOUR day!

Pat

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker."

(Quoted From US Department of Labor 2010)

 

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