If you are looking at homes to purchase right now then you probably have looked at foreclosure, short sale and regular homes for sale.  These deals are generally structured a little different than each other from the realtor side.  When a home inspection is needed they all need to be treated the same.  What I mean by that is that all the utilities will need to be turned on prior to the inspection date and time.  Why do we need the utilities turned on for a foreclosure home inspection?

  • Water main- The water serviced needs to be turned on and the property needs to be de-winterized prior to the arrival of the inspector.  A home inspector will inspect to make sure that there are no leaks in the water service or the waste service.  These issues are generally ones that can compound in to costly repair costs if not found at the time of the home inspection service.  The standards of practice for home inspectors does not suggest that home inspectors turn on or install water meters and/or de-winterize the home prior to inspection.  Unfortunately the water meter was not installed at the home inspection I performed in Mount Prospect.  Luckily for my client I’m a licenced plumber (Chicago Lic. # PL-194988) and was able to install the water meter and complete the home inspection properly.  I do catch quite a bit of  backlash from home inspector associations about standards of practice.  The bottom line is that my clients want the home, the realtor wants to sell a home and I want to inspect the home and I have the means and the extensive background to make it happen for my client.  We all win!
  • Gas Utilities – The gas needs to be turned on prior to a home inspection to test the furnace, water heater, dryer, and stove to make sure they work and that there are no leaks in the gas supply lines.
  • Electric panel -The electric needs to be on and generally never is shut off by the foreclosure companies do to the fact that that most homes have sump pumps and will need electric to run in the case that there is a need for a sump pump.

I receive calls weekly from perspective clients looking to do a foreclosure home inspection without the utilities being turned on and I always explain that I would suggest that all utilities be turned on prior to the inspection.  If you decide to do  a home inspection with the lack of utilities being turned on you take a risk that there may be very expensive repairs after the closing of the home. 

My clients from the Mount Prospect home inspection were very happy that we were able to assist them with their lack of water main service.  They were promised that the water would be turned on and it did not happen.  This happens more and more with the abundance of foreclosed homes on the market.  If you have questions about foreclosure home inspection or any other issues that you can think of please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and be safe.

Jim Kolke

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