A house in Utah which was not winterized...Is it a risk? It was listed before winter weather hit Utah....

Asked by Amanda, Salt Lake City, UT Mon Apr 6, 2009

There is a short sale in one of the best neighborhoods on the bench in Davis county. The price is right (well below market value), the house itself is awesome, but I was sad to find out it was not winterized. My realtor thinks it may be a risk to purchase since the pipes underneath may burst once water is turned on. I am willing to pay for an inspector, but I don't know if they can find stuff that they cannot see...
I have no experience in buying or inspecting a house, and I would like to hear voices from different groups. As an experienced buyer/seller/professional/person, what is your opinion on this?


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Kathy Fuhrim…, Agent, Tremonton, UT
Sun Apr 12, 2009
Generally speaking with homes left vacant and unmaintained during the cold winter months, it is almost guaranteed that there will be plumbing damage and possibly structural damage as a result. I have been a listing agent for several REO properties that have had plumbing frozen with resulting damage of varying degrees. The plumbing repair could be as little as a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Just so you understand, if the plumbing is frozen you do not need to replace all of the pipes, just a few joints that have splt. If the home is being sold as a short sale, the lender is less likely to approve a repair allowance. They usually prefer to sell the properties "as-is".
0 votes
Debbie Monso…, Agent, Sandy, UT
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Here in Utah we do tend to get some cold winter nights. If they left the heater on it might be ok. It is when they turn off all the utilities that you may have problems. My best suggestion is if you are thinking of purchasing this home be sure and have a good qualified inspector do your inspection, and make sure all the utilities are turned on for that inspection.
If any more questions please give me a call. 801-870-2092
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Mon Apr 6, 2009

Our recommendation is to expect the worse and build the expense for repairs into your offer amount. The damage could be extensive including costs for: repiping, hotwater heater, toilets, water fixtures etc. Another important consideration is the accessability of plumbing that may need to be repaired. If it requires opening up walls, floors, or breaking through the foundation and working through a crawl space this could increase the degree of difficulty to get the work done.

Contact an experienced plumber for their input. In the event water lines were opened and anti-freeze was put in the drains your concern could be deminished.

Good luck
0 votes
Emmanuel Sca…, , Collin County, TX
Mon Apr 6, 2009
Hello Amanda,

If the home was not winterized and the heating system was left on then there may not be an issue. One way to tell is to review the utility bills for the heating system to see if sufficient gas/electric may have been consumed indicating the heat was on. Not exactly the most reliable method but a start.

There are good answers below and if you are interested in the home absolutely have it inspected. When you choose an Inspector use one that is properly certified in Thermal Imaging technologies. Thermal imaging is an excellent method for identifying water leakage and a whole host of other issues. If you do choose a Thermographer make sure they are properly trained and certified. There are plenty out there claiming to be certified after a two day course (unfortunate but true). If you have any questions how to pick a Thermographer or how to check their credentials feel free to contact me.

Good luck!

Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
214-418-4366 (cell)
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Level I Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
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CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
Web Reference:  http://www.psinspection.com
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Apr 6, 2009
ODDS are not having a home winterized for a foreclosure is slim to none. Not all foreclosures have that posting.

HOWEVER $300 - or + for a awesome home, lender would be held responsible OR you can keep searching for a home you may never find.

Your sales offer needs state ALL Utilities turned on seller expense. Rule of thumb from seasoned agents, and investors (which I am) never purchase a home unless you have a full inspection. You are risk I have kicked deals to streets after I have reviewed inspections report SOOOO HAPPY I paid for report althought I lost $300 - or + best money ever spent than a huge mistake.


~ National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Lecturer regarding Credit Repair, Mortgage Loan Officer
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
Marvin Jensen, Agent, Salt Lake City, UT
Mon Apr 6, 2009
Get an inspection! That is the only way to know... good luck!
0 votes
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