Foreclosure homes and other properties are becoming an increasingly attractive option for both future homeowners and investors. Most homes are sold ‘as is’ by banks or other mortgage holders and are usually priced significantly below the average of similar homes on the market. Some foreclosed homes are in relatively good condition while others can have multiple serious defects that will require significant expense and effort to correct prior to obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy. 

Mortgage holders (and sometimes their agents) normally look upon a foreclosed home inspection as unnecessary because under normal circumstances in a conventional home sale, a home inspection is performed to find serious defects that would jeopardize the previously signed sales contract due to seriousness and/or cost of repair. Since the foreclosed home is normally sold ‘as is’, the mortgage holder (seller) has no financial interest in a formal inspection.

While this view is completely understandable, it ignores the basic purpose of a professional home inspection – that is to provide the buyer with information so he or she can make a well informed decision when purchasing a property.

Ideally, an inspection on a foreclosed home should occur prior to signing a sales contract so the potential buyer knows what repairs will be needed and can consider those costs along with the price of the home. Even when this is not possible, an inspection performed following a contract signing (and deposit) might identify a previously unknown defect or defects that may be so costly to repair that walking away from the deposit might be the better and less costly choice.