Purchasing a “winterized” foreclosure

5 Replies

Just went under contact on my 3rd deal. This happens to be a bank owned property with no running water or electrical. I’ve scheduled my inspector to do his normal routine and I’ve also hired a plumber to do a pressure test on the system since we can’t test the plumbing by simply running the water.
What else am I missing?? Any other safeguards I need or things to look out for with a winterized house?? TIA!

If the heating system is hydronic, you will need to ensure the system is drained and pressure test it as well.

You can use a generator to check electrical, appliances, etc

@Mike Dorneman
Winterized means that all water should have been drained from the house and antifreeze poured into the toilet and sink traps. How well any of that was done is an unknown. Unless the piping was blown out with compressed air, there’s a possibility of water pockets that could have frozen and split the pipes.

The bigger unknown and possibly the most damaging is the length of time the house has been empty. Bank owned properties can sometimes sit empty for years. All that time with no heat in the winter and no air conditioning or ventilation in summer can cause moisture to form in the structure due to condensation build up. Temperature swings and moisture can cause all types of problems from buckled hardwood floors to mold. Be attentive to any staining or cracking of drywall. Roof leaks can go undetected for a long time in bank owned properties so inspect attics and ceilings

Dont trust the porcelain toilets in foreclosures in cold climates! They probably sat with water in the bowl before the winterization happened, and that water expands (or the porcelain just gets weak) and cracks!  I've had multiple "foreclosure toilets" with mysterious invisible leaks that I just could not figure out until I finally replaced the whole toilet. usually the leaks are very small too, so you dont notice it right away.

@Tom W. Good points, thank you. I do know the toilets are currently filled with Antifreeze. Tomorrow we're having the plumber to a pressure test so we'll see how that goes. Thanks again for the insight.

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