We are considering making an offer on a bank owned/foreclosed home. There is a well and septic system. The

Asked by Lisa, Northampton, MA Sun Jun 28, 2009

realtor said they probably wouldn't turn the water and electricity on for an inspection. Also, in Mass. you need a title 5 inspection (sewer) which is approx 600-800 dollars. How can we find out the potential issues in this situation? Please help!

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Fred Griffin, , Tallahassee, FL
Thu Jul 2, 2009
Typical Foreclosure / Short Sale / REO -
the Owner of Record will usually NOT turn the Utilities and Water on.

Before you yourself turn anything on:

1. Make sure that it is safe to do so.

You may need an inspector or contractor or plumber and/or electrician to
give you an okay.

Reason: many Foreclosures / Short Sales have been vandalized:
light fixtures and plumbing fixtures may have been ripped out.
Any exposed wiring, any un-capped water pipes in sinks or tubs, etc. could present a serious hazard.

I just showed a house where the ceiling fans had been ripped from the ceilings, leaving bare wires exposed.
The sink in the master bathroom was gone, leaving open pipes.
Turning on the water or power could have been disastrous.

2. Get a "worst case scenario" bid from a couple of Septic Tank Companies-
what would be the total replacement cost for a new system including drainfield, any and all inspections.

Ditto for the Well - have two companies give you written estimate for the cost of a new pump, piping, etc.

*** You may also want to have a water quality test done by a local laboratory,
for bacteria, toxic pollution, metals, etc.

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Best wishes to you,
Fred
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0 votes
Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Thu Jul 2, 2009
Usually you (the buyer) can pay to have the water and electric turned on for an inspection. If you decide to buy, then you will probably be billed for the days until closing. If you decide not to buy, you will have to pay to have the utilities shut off.
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