Experienced brokers and agents know that this is not always the case. Repair costs can grow rapidly and turn a “great deal” into a time-consuming frustration. Estimating repair needs and costs is crucial. Your first step is a professional home inspection for several reasons. It is likely that the homeowner did not properly maintain the property as finances became strained. In some cases, an angered homeowner may cause both obvious and hidden damage to the property. It is not uncommon to see missing/damaged fixtures, appliances and components at a foreclosure property.
Start estimating. You can take the simple or detailed approach with estimating repair costs. A great first step is to go to www.diynetwork.com where they have a free easy-to-use repair cost estimator. If you want a finely tuned estimate you can look at the Craftsman Book series of software. Trial versions can be found at www.craftsman-book.com/downloads which gives you the ability to estimate construction costs like a pro. One final note. It is often a challenge to get the utilities turned on before the inspection.
Persistence is needed in dealing with the various parties as you arrange for the inspection. Don’t give up and by all means have the home inspected. Who knows how many thousands of dollars it could take to repair an undiscovered defect.