Minimize Your Risk When Searching for Cheap Housing

Now that the federal government’s efforts at tinkering with regard to the marketplace for affordable homes has started to show its effects, we are faced with a glut of cheap homes in the United States. Complicating matters is the fact that unemployment remains very high, so people who might otherwise absorb that supply are still unable to afford to buy any of the cheap houses for sale.
For those in a position to buy a cheap home, it’s a buyer’s market, and lenders are aware of this fact of business life. For them, the stock of unsold real estate, although nominally assets, amount to liabilities. Although they will spend money to do the bare minimum of home maintenance and just about never any home improvement, they are exposed to liability for damages occurring on the property, even to trespassers in many cases.
If you come across an affordable home that’s been foreclosed upon, you may see it as an opportunity to upgrade your own living circumstances. However, you must be prepared to deal with the risk of buying a cheap house that may have serious defects or be the victim of deferred home maintenance. What seems like an amazing bargain could turn out to be a major liability if you are not very careful. Potential buyers must be very wary before jumping at what looks like a deal that is too good to miss.
One way to minimize the risks is to contact the former owner and ask directly about the condition of the property. In some cases the owner will harbor a lingering bitterness and refuse to cooperate, but often they will have accepted their loss and be happy to have it re-occupied. This is especially so if the potential buyer is not buying as an investment but instead intends to live there with a family. This is certainly not a sure way to find out about potential troubles, but it is a good place to start and there is certainly nothing to lose by trying to find out more about a piece of property before spending any money.
Neighbors may know the whereabouts of the former owner. If not, you can mail them a letter of inquiry which will be forwarded to them. If you think it appropriate, you might offer some financial inducement to come out and inspect the property with you. By no means will everybody be willing to do so, but for the price of a stamp you may be pleasantly surprised.

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