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Old 04-15-13, 05:16 PM   #1
no1mad
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Any general contractors in the house?

It is a convoluted tale, but... I may still be a homeowner.

Structure was built in '06 and pretty much abandoned 10/08*. The house was winterized 11/10.

I realize the info is limited, but was wondering what potential problems I may be looking at should I be allowed to regain possession? Roof/structure are unknowns, the electrical should be fine, but my biggest concern is the plumbing.

I know I will have to clean it out, having left some furniture behind and there are signs that someone else had gained entry and pretty much trashed the interior- carpet will have to be professionally cleaned or maybe even replaced, graffiti will have to be addressed, and the gas range will have to be replaced (we left it there, but it is gone now).

*For the record, I did receive a Notice of Sheriff's Sale roughly 6 weeks after moving. I could have stayed put until then, but I found a rental that afforded minimal impact on the children- same school, same bus stop. Fast forward to 2013- the property never went to auction and there are no liens whatsoever, nor has there ever been any hint that the house has been in Foreclosure.
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Old 04-15-13, 05:19 PM   #2
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Just guessing, but I'd bet the biggest question with the plumbing is whether it has been ripped out for the scrap copper.
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Old 04-15-13, 05:31 PM   #3
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ditto on the copper.... thieves suck. If there was no heat during a cold winter, pipes can burst (if they weren't stolen) although you said you 'winterized' the home. A 'house guest' may have turned the water back on for their convenience. Copper electrical wiring may also be gone. It's way too easy for thieves to monetize stolen metals. Vacant homes can fall into disrepair quickly. If gutters aren't cleared, water backs up and then roof/skylights can fail, then you have water damage and mold issues. These are worst case scenarios, maybe some new carpets and a fresh coat of primer/paint, some new appliances, etc could be all it takes to make the home habitable. It's hard to guess not knowing anything about the construction/style of the home. But congrats on recovering your property, good luck with all that. One day at a time...
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Old 04-15-13, 06:41 PM   #4
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Given the date it was built, copper plumbing seems pretty deluxe, but ditto on all the things
that can happen in an unheated house in the winter.

You also ought to be alert to mold and mildew issues in the closed wall and/or basement areas
where they get poor air circulation, thus once damp they stay damp.

Isn't the bank/lender gonna want all those back mortgage payments, even though you were not resident ?
Or is this a chance for you to buy it at auction ? Which can be a good deal, depending on condition and price.

It might be worth a professional inspection/survey from top to bottom.

Those guys here in California (home inspectors) generally earn their money.
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Old 04-15-13, 06:46 PM   #5
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ditto on the copper.... thieves suck. If there was no heat during a cold winter, pipes can burst (if they weren't stolen) although you said you 'winterized' the home. A 'house guest' may have turned the water back on for their convenience. Copper electrical wiring may also be gone. It's way too easy for thieves to monetize stolen metals. Vacant homes can fall into disrepair quickly. If gutters aren't cleared, water backs up and then roof/skylights can fail, then you have water damage and mold issues. These are worst case scenarios, maybe some new carpets and a fresh coat of primer/paint, some new appliances, etc could be all it takes to make the home habitable. It's hard to guess not knowing anything about the construction/style of the home. But congrats on recovering your property, good luck with all that. One day at a time...
-Pretty sure the pipes are/were PVC. Post tension/slab foundation
-The a/c/heat pump appears to be intact- if thieves stripped it, they put it back together. Doubtful if anyone stripped the inside wiring, but won't know until/if I can get inside to have a look see.
-The whole development is built on former pasture land- not a single mature tree in the entire neighborhood, so not too concerned about the guttering.

My biggest concern is that I will be able to get the house back only to discover some costly big ticket item(s) that I will have no chance of paying for repairs...
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Old 04-15-13, 07:01 PM   #6
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Given the date it was built, copper plumbing seems pretty deluxe, but ditto on all the things
that can happen in an unheated house in the winter.

You also ought to be alert to mold and mildew issues in the closed wall and/or basement areas
where they get poor air circulation, thus once damp they stay damp.

Isn't the bank/lender gonna want all those back mortgage payments, even though you were not resident ?
Or is this a chance for you to buy it at auction ? Which can be a good deal, depending on condition and price.

It might be worth a professional inspection/survey from top to bottom.

Those guys here in California (home inspectors) generally earn their money.
Of course there are monies that will have to be paid- the question is whether or not a deal can be struck that is acceptable to all parties.

It is not up for auction. I thought it went on the auction block back at the end of '08, but it never did.
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Old 04-15-13, 07:34 PM   #7
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I was raised in Vinita.
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Old 04-15-13, 07:50 PM   #8
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Assuming the place looks ok at first glance:
If I were asked to imagine a big ticket but hidden item related to vacancy or disuse, I'd go with water damage/mold. It's the sort of thing that can get worse the more you rip into it. Slight smell leads to noticing some discolored paint, mushy drywall, rotted structural wood and insulation etc etc...
I have no idea this is a common issue in homes in OK.
An experienced eye (or nose) would probably notice the signs.
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Old 04-15-13, 08:06 PM   #9
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You must be The Kid.
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Old 04-15-13, 08:50 PM   #10
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Vermin, mice, rats, squirrels, raccoon, etc. can do lots of damage, inside the walls where it can't be seen. Have an inspection before you commit to anything.
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Old 04-15-13, 09:28 PM   #11
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-Pretty sure the pipes are/were PVC. Post tension/slab foundation
-The a/c/heat pump appears to be intact- if thieves stripped it, they put it back together. Doubtful if anyone stripped the inside wiring, but won't know until/if I can get inside to have a look see.
-The whole development is built on former pasture land- not a single mature tree in the entire neighborhood, so not too concerned about the guttering.

My biggest concern is that I will be able to get the house back only to discover some costly big ticket item(s) that I will have no chance of paying for repairs...
Were this me, and I were looking at this house as described, I'd be concerned primarily with
when, how and by whom it was built........there are a great many houses of similar age and origin
here in California from the last big boom that were simply not built to standard.

Siding is installed incorrectly, windows/doors were never level to begin with, roofing was done
with substandard materials and the shingles were laid with improper exposure............the list is
really endless and seem specific to certain builders, in certain subdivisions.

Those particular houses are filled with unpleasant surprises. Do you know anyone who still lives
in a house built by your builder there ? They know oodles more about your house than I ever will.

I've had one heat pump setup in my lifetime, in Eastern TN. It was retrofitted into an older farmhouse
and didn't work worht a **** for heating, but did OK on cooling.

I don't know how yours worked before, it's way newer and probably has a much better exchange field
than that one in TN........but I'm sure you know they're expensive to replace.

If you get much real winter at all (like most of OK) the poor things seem to spend a lot of time running
the resistance coil heating rather than in true heat pump mode, and you can see the dial on your electric
meter spin like crazy.

You really ought to get a couple of bids to do an inspection for you. I would. It's usually in the 2-300 buck range,
and if you get a conscientious and knowledgeable guy, it's well worth it.
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Old 04-15-13, 10:19 PM   #12
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The whole development was done by the same outfit (at least they have limited lifetime warranty on the foundation, roof trusses, and load bearing walls). I will do some discrete asking around.

My SIL is a Realtor and just back into town from a working vacay in the Dominican Republic. She can probably point out a couple of decent inspectors.
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Old 04-18-13, 11:19 AM   #13
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Best of luck with whatever you decide. Inspections can be quite pricey, but worth it in the long run (assuming your inspector is worth anything).
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Old 04-18-13, 12:01 PM   #14
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Just got off the phone with the mortgage people. After giving them info over the phone, they are going to send me a key. They still need verification in writing of the numbers I provided, and there is a small chance that they may change their minds even after I move back in, but as of right now... looks like I've got some packing to do.
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Old 04-18-13, 09:18 PM   #15
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I'm more of a specific contractor rather than a general one.
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Old 04-18-13, 10:47 PM   #16
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The whole development was done by the same outfit (at least they have limited lifetime warranty on the foundation, roof trusses, and load bearing walls). I will do some discrete asking around.

My SIL is a Realtor and just back into town from a working vacay in the Dominican Republic. She can probably point out a couple of decent inspectors.
Also try Angie's List for an inspector. I found a good one there. Ended up having him do both inspections. (I passed on the first money pit.)
Angie's List doesn't have enough input for my area (---however much that needs to be) to warrant charging the normal membership rate. Therefore, the AL info cost me nothing. Maybe it's the same in your county?
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