There are so many foreclosures and short sales! And they are owned by banks. There are usually local realtors who have been asked to list the house and manage the listing. To sell the house, a selling agent contacts the local listing agent and works through that contact. It might be that 50% of my inspections are on foreclosures, but it could be slightly more or less. It is certainly close to one half!
The problem with that? Often the houses have been winterized. Or the utilities are turned off. Smart buyers want home inspections. The selling agent will have to work through the listing agent. This is fine and proper, except the listing agent has to rely on a bank. Where is the bank? It could be anywhere. And this particular house is one file of many, perhaps hundreds, that the contact person at the bank is handling. This house may not be the priority of the day!
My recent experiences are -- the selling agent calls the listing agent to say when the buyers would like an inspection. The listing agent calls the bank to have the utilities turned on. The bank calls back and says the utilities will be on by the date of the inspection. The listing agent so notifies the selling agent. We go for the inspection, and, yep, no utilities. For whatever the reason, there are no utilities.
It has gotten to the point that I am telling the selling agents that if we go to the house and there are no utilities, we will do what we can toward an inspection, and then have to return after there are utilities. I have no choice, and everyone understands. But...!
My recommendation: someone needs to go by the house to physically determine that the utilities are on! I even suggest to the selling agent that they go by! If the house is near to mine and there is a combination lock box, I offer to do it. Someone needs to. People are taking off work. Sometimes they travel from other places. I am holding an inspection slot for the buyers. We would all like to make good use of our time. It makes no sense not to go by to insure that the inspection can properly take place.
Everyone wants the process to move toward completion - and, most likely, particularly the bank! They would love to move that file, the one of so many, off their desk!
It's going to take a little extra work. But such is the market we are in now. Working together we can make a difficult situation just a bit easier and certainly more smooth.
I LOVE the K.I.S.S. principle - Keep It Sweet and Simple! I know, I know, but I don't like to use the word "stupid."
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560