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Problems With Buying A Repossessed House

Updated on March 17, 2015

Trouble With Buying A Repossessed Houses

I worked for a Property Management company that specialized in working for Banks. I did this for a few years. A friend of mine bought a repossessed house from a bank thinking it was a great deal. So I am fairly qualified in talking about this issue and the experiences that I had.

When buying a repo house you had better be a good Handyman. These houses are generally made to look good so the banks can UNLOAD them. For the most part they are not a bargain. Remember it probably took the bank at least a year to get the previous owner out of the house. So there was not much general maintenance done to the house in at least that time period. Also it probably sat for a while before they could find a buyer.

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Wiring Problems

The next big problem. Sometimes the Light Fixtures are removed by the previous owner. That is really not so bad as long as they haven’t all been removed. Remember nice looking fixtures are not cheap. The other thing is some time vandals have gotten into the house and removed wiring taking as much of the copper as they can get.

Mold and Mildew

I wonder why my house smells funny? Sometimes the roof leaks and Mold and Mildew starts to grow. This is a serious health problem and very hard problem to fix. It sometimes require the removing the Drywall and or Plaster from ceilings and walls to repair properly. The new owner may have to remove whole rooms of plastered walls and or drywall.The banks sometimes have them sprayed with a sealant but it is not really a solution.


1. The biggest problem is the plumbing especially in the areas of the country where it gets below freezing. They may or may not have had them winterized. A lot of times the winterization of the house is not properly done. Also the Toilet and Fixtures, Sinks and Water tanks have sat for a long time without water. Many of the rubber o-rings will probably need to be replaced, also the toilet seals inside will be dried out and leak. So when you have the water turned back on beware. There is also the problem of having pieces of pipe missing (the price of copper is up) and burst seams in the pipe from getting frozen out. So when the water is turned back on the sinks won’t turn off because all the rubber gaskets that are in the valves as dry rotted.The toilets keep running again because they won't hold water and are dry rotted. Then when you flush it, you find out it, is cracked inside and you have water shooting out in the walls and ceiling. Then after you fix those some of the P traps under sinks, tubs and showers are broke from freezing. In order to fix this you have to sometimes tear out plaster and Drywall or floors to get to them. Also the Mad ex-owner has played pipe roulette by cutting pipe here and there. Then there is the hot water tank. Is it leaking or not? Also people like to sabotage the drain by flushing towels down the toilets.

Animal Party Time

The next thing I have encountered is the mad ex-owner before it is taken by the Bank, lets their dogs and cats party in there for a couple weeks before they take them out. They leave them plenty of food and water just don’t let them out. You can imagine the smell and mess that it leaves. The floor is all urine soaked and dog do-do has had a nice time to soak into the floors. Of course the bank has had it all picked up but now the smell is still in the floors.

Furnace or Boiler

The furnace. If it had a boiler in it. You need to check to see if it is cracked and or broken from freezing. This is sometimes hard to determine until it is pressurized. Also look to make sure that some one has not removed all the radiators. How about the pipes in the wall leading up to the boilers are they Cracked. Sometime you don’t know till they have been pressurized. The expense of replacing those pipes and boilers are time consuming and expensive.

The Roof

Sometimes these house have roof problems. They may have been patched with a little bit of Roof cement and left to be fixed by a new Owner. A lot of the repossessed houses have bad roofs. Again it is a problem where the old owner probably did not have enough money to upkeep the house. If the roof is bad then Not only will it need recovered with shingles but chances are the wood underneath bad. It probably has been leaking for a good while. Again you have the chance that Mold and Mildew are present.

In conclusion

These are all the Major problems that can be found on buying a repossessed House. As in all things let the Buyer Beware. The banks do not usually guarantee anything they just want to unload the house.

So good luck if you buy one. Remember the bank does not spend money on these units unless they have to.


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    • handymanbill profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from western pennsylvania

      People think they are getting a great bargan but it really is not a lot of the time. Thanks for stopping by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This is enlightening. People often do not take care of their stuff, especially when they know it's not going to be theirs any longer. Wow. Thanks for sharing this experience.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is definitely the reality of buying reprocessed homes. When done right, however, money can be made. The trick is to offer the bank a low enough price to leave room for all this repair. Expect the worst (based on all the issues you mentioned in your hub) and price that into your offer. Don't negotiate. If the bank wants more, walk away.

    • handymanbill profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Thanks for your comments. Cars are really not in the same category. Most places you can have it looked at by a mechanic before you buy it. A lot of those places will give you time to have it looked at.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 

      6 years ago

      I am glad I read this - people are really in a hard place to let their home get rigged with problems and damage. I suppose a car would be in the same category. Thanks.

    • handymanbill profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Thanks for stopping by. Any thing i can help you with let me know. I have dealt with fixing a lot of them.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      7 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great information! I need to keep your site handy!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yeah, I know what you mean here. My uncle was having his home repossessed and he ignored general maintenance for nearly a year and a half before the bank got him out. The place wasn't in all that great of a condition in the first place, and it definitely didn't look good when he left.

    • handymanbill profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from western pennsylvania

      yea you were. Some of them are really messed up and hardly worth buying. It would be better to almost rip it down and start over. i have worked both ends the bank side and the person who buys one and needs work to make it livable. After one been froze out one winter they are hard to get right. Thanks for stopping by.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I happened to get one from the owner before it went to the bank. There was only $1,500 owed on it, so I was lucky. Granted, he didn't do anything in way of repairs for years, But I knew what was there. I paid him a little extra for the house and set to work, but I was one of the luckier ones.

    • handymanbill profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Thanks for stopping by. I wanted people to get an idea what they were going to deal with

    • JessicaSmetz profile image

      Just Ask Jess 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Good job. It can be difficult to buy a repossessed house especially because they leave everything as is and many times there are major problems.


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